Naija Notes: Lawyers! Lawyers! Liars!

by Toni Kan Onwordi

Was it not William Shakespeare who said that the law is an ass? Well, it’s a camel as well.

One James Onanefe Ibori was handed down a N500 fine for stealing roofing sheets. That was sometime in the late nineties in Bwari, somewhere in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Fast forward to 2003. As James Onanefe Ibori, Executive Governor of Delta was getting set to run for a second term of office, the conviction of that certain Ibori suddenly became an issue when the governor was accused of being the Ibori who was sentenced to pay a N500 fine.

The governor denied ever being in that courtroom. His spin masters said the records of the court were falsified. Full-page adverts were taken out proclaiming the governor’s innocence.

Tired of pleading his case in the court of public opinion, the embattled governor went to the law courts to clear his name and what clearance he got.

In his ruling the presiding judge made a landmark proclamation: the Ibori who was tried at the Bwari court was only sentenced, but not convicted! If you are as stupefied as I was at hearing that declaration (sentenced not convicted) let me point you to a case cited by the learned judge.

Pick up a copy of Nigerian Weekly Law Report pt. 287, pg. 254 and check Mohammed vs Olawunmi (1993) where Justice Oguntade of the Supreme Court ruled inter alia: “there cannot be sentencing without conviction. Once a conviction is set aside it follows that any sentence passed has no leg to stand on, this is because a sentence depends on a conviction which is finding of guilt.”

Lawyers! Lawyers! Liars!

Anyway, while Ibori and his people are celebrating, I have been mulling over one question. Was the governor the same person who was convicted or was he not?

I’m the kind of guy who likes getting answers to fundamental questions.

So will the real James Onanafe Ibori please stand up.


America said they were going to Iraq to shock and awe the Iraqi.

Almost two weeks later, the Americans are looking more shocked than most. The quick war they expected may not be what they get. Reason: the Iraqis are putting up more resistance than the Yankees thought they’d meet.

But I am under no illusions. Saddam will fall, the Americans will win the war and Iraq will never ever be the same again. In fact, the world will never be the same again. Actually the world has never been the same again since 9/11.

The only problem is that sometimes when we get that which we want it leaves us with a terribly sour taste in our mouth. I fear that at the end of this war, with victory secured, Americans will look down at the terrible beauty they’ve spawned and wonder whether the madness was worth it after all.


My area (Shomolu LGA) has been without water for three days now and the situation is driving me up the wall, especially now that I have a wee one in the house.

So you can imagine my panic this morning when I heard on the news that the NLC is planning a nationwide strike. That means no water, no light, no fuel.

Someone tell me, isn’t this how hell was described?


On a lighter note.

While at a staff club where I was hanging out with friends last week in honour of a senior colleague who had just turned forty this very well endowed lady walked in.

As all eyes turned to her one of the guys had let out a low whistle and cried: Check out this Weapon of Mass Seduction.

And believe me we were all seduced.

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