We Defend Alleged Criminals Because Constitution Presumes Them Innocent -Justice Kanu Agabi

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By Acrossy Ikechukwu Ngah || OHAFIA-TV
(February 26, 2020)

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi on Wednesday, adduced reasons why lawyers defend persons charged with corruption and other criminal related cases.

Agabi who spoke at the unveiling and commissioning of Mahmud Magaji (SAN) & Co Law Office in Abuja, stated that lawyers are bound by professional duty to defend even those we believe to be guilty.

“People cannot understand why we defend crime or criminals. People wonder whether we serve the true ends of justice when we successfully defend those accused of criminal offences

“What are we to do when called upon to defend those who are stigmatised as corrupt or who have come under suspicion and been charged to court?

“Because the constitution presumes all accused persons to be innocent until proven guilty, we are not allowed to condemn them until a court of competent jurisdiction has done so.

“We are not judges. We are lawyers. And what a dreadful day for the nation if we were to take upon ourselves to condemn people and to refuse to defend them on the ground of our conviction that they are guilty even before they are tried,” the former minister said.

Agabi, however, said that it was disheartening that lawyers had come under justifiable suspicion of aiding and facilitating the corruption that now threatened the very foundation of the nation.

“The question that every lawyer must ask himself now is whether he or she is using the knowledge for the benefit of the country and his fellow man or woman.

“If we are not able to use our knowledge and learning for the benefit of the nation and fellow citizens, then we should give up our books and take to other professions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko who was represented by the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, commended Mahmud Magaji, SAN, for his effort.

He described the law office as “fantastic.”

In his remark, Magaji said the ultramodern chamber was part of his contribution to law practice in the country .

He said he was motivated by first-class chambers in the U.K., the U.S., among others, and decided to replicate same in Abuja.
He paid tribute to Ahmed Raji, SAN, who motivated him to have a chamber of his own.


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