Lawyer who turned courtroom to boxing ring finally speaks, gives reason

Lawyer who turned courtroom to boxing ring finally speaks, gives reason

John Yuwa, a Plateau-based lawyer, is one of the two lawyers whose pictures went viral on the Internet for fighting on court premises in Gombe State on September 23. He tells CHIMA AZUBUIKE about the incident

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is John Yuwa. I am a lawyer based in Jos, Plateau State. I am a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Jos branch.

For how long have you been practising as a lawyer?

I was called to Bar in 2018.

 On Thursday, September 23, you and a fellow lawyer were engaged in bloody fisticuffs on the premises of a magistrates’ court in Gombe. What really happened?

Well, on that issue, I will exercise restraint not to comment on it because already there is a petition for disciplinary action and my branch, the Jos branch, is the one handling it. So, any other comment with respect to the issue will be addressed by my branch.

The incident went viral online and there have been various versions as to what really happened. Don’t you think this is an opportunity to set the record straight.

Hmm, you see, I belong to the Bar and I respect the decision of the Bar. What is cardinal in our profession is to respect seniority. Now, this issue, having been handed over to my branch, the tradition is that I should not comment on it. As soon as I do, it will mean I’m exercising power over the issue. However, all I know is that there can’t be injustice in the temple of justice. So, I’m confident that having handed the issue over to the Bar it will do justice to it. As for the opportunity to clear the air and my name, I trust God, the opportunity will come at the appropriate time. So, they will take appropriate measures.

The lawyer who fought with you was identified as Kingsley Gurumyen. What kind of relationship do the two of you have?

Well, for all my colleagues I relate with them well as my brothers. We are learned colleagues, as we always call ourselves. I do my practice only to the extent that the law permits me to do it and I argue my cases only to the extent that the law permits me to argue. I believe that where there is a right then there is a remedy. I also believe that if the law bestows a right on me and it’s worthy of enforcement, I will speak for my client generally. That is me as a person, who represents my client. So, to the extent that the law permits, I present my client’s case before the court and argue it. That has been my practice since I was admitted into the Nigerian Bar.

The belief and the practice is that we have one Bar in Nigeria. This will allow you practise anywhere convenient. So, I relate well with my other colleagues, including those in Gombe. It’s just like other jurisdictions, we relate well.

The NBA in Gombe talked about attempts to resolve the case, but then you petitioned your branch. Were you not impressed with the way Gombe NBA is handling the matter?

No; not that I’m not impressed. In fact, the Bar is one; the division is just for administrative convenience. I don’t have any doubt about any of the branches of the Bar; the only thing is that this (Jos) is where I reside, where I operate from.

Was the magistrate aware of the fight and are there any likely consequences for you and your colleague?

Like I told you, I’m trying to exercise restraint not to comment on that particular incident precisely, but then, it was an issue that occurred within the courtroom and nobody expected it. So, he (magistrate) saw it; that is what I believe.

From the photos that circulated online, you sustained some injury, with blood stain on your shirt. How are you recuperating?

The Lord is giving me strength.

It was speculated that you lost a tooth. Is that true?

No, it is not true; I didn’t lose any tooth but I’m recovering.

Has your colleague, Gurumyen, reached out to you after the incident?

My comment on this will be prejudicial.

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