He was armed with two letters-one for the chairman of the branch, the other for the editor-in-chief of the Squib magazine. (Please see cover story exhibit).
The letters bore the same message of apparent but questionable repentance and penitence. A rather long letter it was, but the central thrust was an admission of guilt on the part of the author (Saheed Tijani) of wrongfully and illegally operating as a legal practitioner and letting his former employer down one Barrister Gbenga Akingbehin a.k.a “Idea.”
The Squib can authoritatively reveal however that the visit of Saheed Tijani, a former chamber clerk with Gbenga Akingbehin, to the secretariat of the Tigers was not activated by a contrite, smitten conscience but was a rather a stratagem at damage control.
A day before Tijani’s visit, a much alarmed Gbenga Akingbehin had come to the Tiger’s secretariat to intimate the leadership of the branch with a sad discovery he had just made about his former-clerk, Saheed Tijani.
According to Akingbehin, he terminated Tijani’s employment with him, four years ago in 2005, for “unsavory acts and behaviour”. This after eight years of master/servant relationship between the duo.
To keep body and soul together, Tijani was not averse to using the knowledge and skills he acquired in his long years of employment with Akingbehin, even if borders on illegality and plain criminality.
In 2008 a much surprised Akingbehin, learnt that Saheed Tijani was issuing quit notices to tenants facing eviction threats from their landlords. Instead of reporting the case to the police, a merciful Akingbehin called Saheed Tijani and confronted him with proofs of his criminal acts.
Tijani’s response was to admit guilt immediately and short of shedding tears, sailed to the ground in quick prostration to his former boss, prominsing never “to do such a thing again.”
Unfortunately after being let off the hook, Tijani did not dis-engage from his path of illegality.
In the first week of June 2009 Barrister Akingbehin received a visit from a lady colleague. The visitor brought out a letter entitled “RE-THREATENING TO LIFE, ASSULT, (SIC) INCESSANT NUISANCE” “The letter-head bore the legend-Gbenga Akingbehin & Co and was signed by Tijani Saheed Esq and also carried the stamp print of the purported Gbenga Akingbehin & Co legal firm.
“Is this letter from your chambers?” asked the lady lawyer. A few glances at the letter elicited a strong denial from Akingbehin.
In the said letter, Tijani, purporting to be a lawyer in the chambers of Gbenga Akingehin & Co (the letter has an address different from the true address of Akingbehin’s office) had written to one Mr. Olaleye claiming to be counsel to Olaleye’s tenant, one Mr. Ajobiewe
A much disturbed Akingbehin wasted no time in telling the lady lawyer that the letter was a forgery and that the author was not a lawyer but a former clerk of his.
On the 8th of June 2009 Akingbehin took two decisions-he sought the assistance of the NBA Ikeja branch and the Squib magazine to track down the fake lawyer (Tijani Saheed). And on the 10th of June 2009 he also fired a petition against Tijani Saheed to the commissioner of police, Lagos State (see cover story exhibit)
However a little bird, Biodun by name a well known “All purpose fellow” in and about Ikeja High Court, friendly disposed to Tijani Saheed and who incidentally is a pal to Akingbehin, tipped off Saheed about Akingbehin’s visit to the NBA and the Squib on the matter.
When Tijani Saheed came to the NBA Ikeja Secretariat on his-“Damage Control” expedition, he did not expect any tough times. He apparently thought his letter of reomorse written in the half-baked ingenuity of a man with an incomplete formal education and inadequate grasp of a graceful use of the English language backed with sober looks and verbal apologies would be enough to save him from trouble.
But how sorely mistaken! At first when he was taken up by Adesina Ogunlana the welfare Secretary of the Tiger Bar on the contents of his letter, he made the mistake of relaxing into a few smiles and laughter.
The smiles and laughs brought out the Tiger in the welfare officer, who offered the “medulla oblongata” of the fake lawyer some rapid smacks and ordered him to his knees.
When other Tiger branch leaders joined on in the interrogation, Saheed extended the dimension of his body from a mere keening position to a full fledged prostration. Now faced with a straight forward journey to the nearest police station, Saheed quickly dissolved into tears, whilst profusely begging the Tigers to spare him a stint in the Government House on the Kirikiri canal: Hear the crook:
“Please sirs, have mercy on me. I know I have wronged Barrister Akingbehin and the Nigerian Bar Association and you too sir, Mr. Ogunlana, the Squib. I know what I have done is bad and I have come to beg for forgiveness. But it is not that I am always writing letters like this. I only did this to help my friend, so that he will not be evicted untimely from his apartment.”
After about an hour in the grip of the Tigers, Biodun the friend of the fake lawyer brought along an elderly court lady registrar to join to beg for reprieve for Saheed.
In the meanwhile the Tigers have ordered Saheed to be reporting daily to the Bar Centre every day, until a final decision is taken on him. Barrister Akingbehin however is insisting on the rightful position to get Tijani Saheed eventually prosecuted.