Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The Secretariat of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, popularly known as the Bar Centre is a favourite 'haunt' of many practicing lawyers.
Lawyers and even non-lawyers, come to Bar Centre to make sundry enquiries, purchase law texts and matter, alas, read and study, hold meetings, use the conveniences, lodge complaints etc.

Thus it is normal for the Centre to have people therein, especially the front desk portion which also serves as the books shop.
Occasionally, complaints and lamentations are heard from Queen Ebohon the bar clerk, that certain of her books, and sometimes cash were spirited away by unknown person. On such occasions, people wondered whether the pilferers could include legal practitioners.

On February 19 2009, a very clear but sad answer was received in response to the question “oh yes, lawyers number among those who have been pilfering at the Bar Centre.”

The day before, at about 12:30p.m, Mr. Adesina Adegbite, the Assistant General Secretary of the Ikeja branch, came to the Bar Centre to check on other leaders of the branch, all preparing to travel later in afternoon to Osogbo, Osun State for the NBA's National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting which would take place between 19th -20th February 2009.
Adegbite, glad to meet his colleagues carefully draped his black, well-tailored jacket on the back of a chair in the library of the Bar Centre, exchanged a few banters with some of the people around, before moving out to sort out some things in some other places in the court premises.
Like the other Tigers, he was not prepared to go to Osogbo dressed up. He wanted to travel light and casual. To the gentleman's surprise, then astonishment and finally bewilderment, when he came back to the Bar Centre, about an hour later he could not find his jacket again. Just could not find it.

It took the officer of the bar a while for him to come to terms that a filcher had 'stung' him. He was almost going about in circles in the small library, in vain apparently, searching for his jacket, which plus the matching trousers had cost him not so chicken a change of N45,000:00
Some of his colleagues present, including Adesina Ogunlana Esq, the First Gecko himself and the welfare officer of the branch, at this point noticed Adegbite's discomfiture, for though calm, the man obviously was in a puzzled shock. Adegbite quickly told them of the embarrassing situation he just found himself-the disappearance of his prized jacket, right in the library under the noses of the leaders of the branch.

The magical disappearance of Adegbite's jacket stunned everybody, as nobody knew who took the jacket away or in the alternative, how the jacket took a stroll away, unnoticed from where it was kept.
The mystery did not last for long however. After about an hour, the First Gecko who had been around at the Bar Centre at all material times, before and after the disappearance of Adegbite's jacket put on his Squib's special thinking cap.
Then he called his other colleagues and told them of his suspicion. Said the F.G.

“Gentlemen, I suspect the thief could well be so and so person because he is the only new face who I saw today in the Bar Centre here around the front desk. Also you know the jacket was kept in the library and so was removed from the library. Since only lawyers are allowed in the library, then a non-lawyer would not have access to the library talk-less of taking away the jacket from there.

Even more crucially, I noticed that when so and so person was leaving the Bar Centre this afternoon, I noticed that the jacket he was wearing was well tailored and of good quality and could not help but wonder where a young lawyer still searching for employment, could afford such a good jacket.”

The F.G's reasoning appealed to his colleagues, who considered it plausible and attractive. There and then, one of them a young lady counsel (names withheld) who happened to know the Mr. so and so, was actually one Bashir Adeniyi Ajiferuke, put a call to Ajiferuke a former school mate at the university, with a determined intention to lure the gentleman-thief back to the Bar Centre. Knowing that Ajiferuke was a job seeker, the lady used that as a bait, asking Ajiferuke to come back quickly to the Bar Centre for a sudden job opening. But tried as much as she did, Ajiferuke refused to come back saying he was already too far away in town from the Bar Centre, to return.

At this point, suspicion heightened among the Tiger leaders that indeed Ajiferuke, with his dogged refusal to come back to the Bar Centre could well be the thief, but it remained only that-mere suspicion.
The concrete proof of Ajiferuke's culpability came less than twenty hours later. Early the next morning at about 6.30a.m, Ajiferuke sneaked back to the Bar Centre. He went to the back of the library carefully opened the window louvers through the security latches and pushed the coat through down into the floor of the library.

Unfortunately for the thief, somebody saw him at his escapade. The person, another young lady (names withheld) who works in one of the shops in the court premises was surprised to see Ajiferuke opening the windows of the Bar Centre so early in the morning and pushing a jacket down into it. She went over to challenge Ajiferuke who quickly claimed that he was a lawyer and the jacket he was pushing into the library belonged to him. “I just want to keep the jacket in the library for now. I will come back later to take it.”

The lie worked and Ajiferuke's challenger went away. If Ajiferuke had left things at that, maybe his cover might not have been blown. Unfortunately like most smart Alecs, he over-played his hands. Ajiferuke came back later, in the day to confront the Bar Clerk, Miss Queen Ebohon over certain news he heard that a jacket was missing from the Bar Centre library, the previous day and that his name was mentioned as being responsible. He asked Queen to open the library, assuring her that “you will find that the jacket was not missing after all.”

Very reluctantly, Queen who had participated in the futile search for the jacket the previous day in the library, obliged Ajiferuke.
To her surprise, the coat indeed was found in the library. But no fool, Queen knew something was fishy and insisted that the coat was not in the library when it was searched for the day before.

In the ensuing argument between Ajiferuke and Queen, the lady who had accosted him in the morning, came to the Bar Centre, but thought the duo was arguing on something else.

Sometime later, after Ajiferuke had taken his leave, Queen now related to the young lady the cause of the quarrel between her and Ajiferuke. To Queen's utter surprise, her interlocutor replied with a narration of her own encounter with Ajiferuke much earlier in the morning, at the back of the library.

Since February 19 2009, nobody has seen Ajiferuke near even one hundred metre radius of the Bar Centre. But what made Ajiferuke come back in the morning of 19/2/2009 after successfully stealing away Adegbite's jacket?
Ajiferuke's action came out of fear. He had received in the evening of Wednesday 18/2/2009, a call from his former School mate who had called him earlier in the afternoon to come down for a job opening at the Bar Centre.

This time, Ajiferuke’s caller, putting off her gloves, straightaway asked Ajiferuke to go back to the Bar Centre and return Adegbite's jacket since “everybody especially the leaders have now known that you were the one who took it.”

Rattled by the information which was actually a bluff, Ajiferuke felt he had no better option other than to obey his caller's advice, but without exposing him as the jacket thief- hence the strategy of the back-door drop of the jacket.

Ajiferuke, who joined the NBA Ikeja branch as a member late 2008, according to his curriculum vitae, was born in 1978 and graduated from the Lagos State University LASU in 2002 but was called to the bar 2008.

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