A lawyer, John Yuwa Esq, has addressed a petition to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) against another lawyer named M. K. Gurumyen Esq.

According to the petition published by BarristerNG, Mr. Yuwa alleged that on 23 September 2021, he appeared before the Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Gombe, Gombe State, for a criminal matter. When the case was mentioned, Mr. Yuwa informed the Court that the 3rd Accused person who was earlier present within the Court premises had left to get medication. Mr. Yuwa prayed the Court for a 30-minute stand-down, but not an adjournment.

Mr. Yuwa further alleged that the prosecuting Counsel, M. K. Gurumyen Esq., was apparently irritated at his application for stand-down and tried to shout him down, claiming that he, Mr. Yuwa, was lying. While Mr. Yuwa was trying to take his seat after making his points, Mr. Gurumyen allegedly delivered “deadly” and “ferocious” punches on Mr. Yuwa, breaking his jaw. In other words, Mr. Gurumyen allegedly dealt Mr. Yuwa a heavy “blow in motion” while he was moving a motion. Mr. Yuwa’s blood was seen dropping on the floor of the hallowed Chambers. Other lawyers and persons present in court had to come to his rescue. 

It is disheartening to find some members of the Bar behave like men at the bar who get high on wine. These category of lawyers are not fit and proper for the noble profession.

Mr. Gurumyen, a prosecuting counsel, has now laid himself open for prosecution. If the allegations are true, including the allegation that Mr. Gurumyen was unapologetic and unremorseful concerning the disgraceful conduct, the NBA should not hesitate to activate the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC). The alleged conduct of Mr. Gurumyen is a conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner. More so, he deserves to be immediately prosecuted. Otherwise, lives of learned colleagues might be at risk. Not only that, even members of the Bench might be at the receiving end one day.

A towering blow that allegedly tore apart the jaw of a gentleman into “two ugly halves” leaves an ugly omen. The NBA should consider derobing Mr. Gurumyen temporarily so he may consider putting on the robes and gloves of a boxer. Who knows, he might make Nigeria proud on the big stage and become the next Anthony Joshua. The boxing profession might be a lofty dream for him after all. The only way to determine that is to suspend him from legal practice for a while to enable him focus on his training and practice with his fists. Mr. Gurumyen might be a guru in boxing and possibly wrestling if given the right opportunity to showcase his talents.

Let us be reminded that the power of lawyers lie in our intellect and high capacity to reason. Our passion is demonstrated by the strength of our argument and not by the muscles of our hands which only come into use when we’re drafting with pen or punching computer keyboards (not jaws).

As Ministers in the Temple of Justice, our mandate is not to administer physical blows but to assist the courts to administer justice.

The NBA should temper justice with mercy. This is the reason a permanent derobing of Mr. Gurumyen is not prayed. Rather, a temporal suspension with proven evidence of sound mental state of mind would suffice before the suspension is lifted.


Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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