By NGOZI UWUJARE
THE sun has set on the illegal practice of 66-year-old Olu Adewale, who masqueraded as a lawyer for 16 years, and had appeared over 60 times on behalf of his clients to argue their cases before federal and state high courts in Ibadan.
It is still a mystery how he was able to achieve this ‘feat’ and evaded exposure all these years, under the gaze of the judges before whom he appeared and the Oyo State Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association. If eagled-eye detectives in Ibadan had ignored their hunch to ask questions about him, Adewale would probably have continued and later seek recognition as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a privilege reserved for distinguished members of the bar that have made sterling contributions to the legal profession in the country.
It is instructive that Adewale claimed to be a 1978 graduate of the University of Lagos with a degree in History.
The unmasking of Adewale, as Sunday Sun learnt from the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Police Command, Mr. Leye Oyebade, began when he visited the headquarters of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan, to solicit for a case. The detectives on a hunch questioned him as his conduct and this stirred suspicion. Under the intensity of their interrogation, he cracked and confessed that he never trained as a lawyer, neither was he ever called to the bar.
Recounting how it happened, Oyebade said: “He has been coming for a case in the State CID before detectives interrogated him, to know whether he was actually called to the bar. It was in the course of the interrogation that he confessed.
“He has been parading himself as a lawyer for 16 years before we arrested him and he confessed that he did not train as a lawyer in the university nor attended the Nigerian Law School and qualify to be called to bar and legally practice the profession.
Oyebade further disclosed that when the house of the suspect was searched, police detectives found different documents and stamps, which he allegedly used to deceive clients and collect money from them, but he never won any case in the court.
The suspected fake lawyer, who spoke with Sunday Sun said: “I never attended the Nigerian Law School or called to bar. I was never a Law student. I read History at the University of Lagos in 1978. Before I started practicing as a lawyer, I was in Kano where I lived before the Boko Haram crisis chased me back to Ibadan. I left all my certificates in Kano and fled to Ibadan, Oyo State. As I did not have my certificates, I had to start doing something to survive. So I began to solicit for charge and bail cases at the police headquarters for other lawyers and at the judiciary headquarters. Later I began taking the cases myself. I have appeared on behalf of clients at the Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Federal High Court and State High Court at Ring road. I have appeared over 60 times in different courts in Ibadan.”
He spoke further: “I didn’t buy any wig or gown, to appear in court. I only borrow the wig and gown from other lawyers,” he said.
Adewale who until his arrest operated from a small office in Oke-Ado area of Ibadan and hails from Ibadan South Local Government Area, Oyo State further told Sunday Sun: “I have been practicing as a fake lawyer since 2000 in different courts. I have handled various matters at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Anti-Kidnapping Squad and State CID, Iyaganku, before I was arrested when I went to solicit for a case at SCID.”
In the days ahead, Oyebade said, the alleged fake lawyer would be charged to court.