Stamp and Seal Taxation And The Young Nigerian Lawyers -By Prince Ahmed Adewoyin
Brushing aside the lexical protocol of anachronism, the introduction of stamp and seal is simply an introduction of deliberate exploitation in the Nigerian Legal Profession.
Aside it’s strangeness, the world over, for instance, which of the rules of the medical practice has ever been made, “pursuant” to the MDPA (CAP M8), LFN 2004 that a stamp (or the likes, be FORCEFULLY purchased and) be attached to medical opinions, observations, prescriptions, et al?
By law, having been called to the Nigerian bar, every lawyer possesses an unfettered right to practice law in Nigeria.
It is but incredible that instead of gathering to see to betterment of the practitioners which would, in turn, determine the relevance and security of the profession, logic is seen placed on its head. After all, the mischiefs that we pretended to cure by the introduction of this “Stamp and Seal Taxation” are on astronomical increase, day in day out!
Interestingly, when the medics, who are well taken care of by the State, are not as heavily “taxed” by the NMA, Council or Ministry of Health, how much more the numerous struggling lawyers who are left high and dry, without a phantom of regard to the monotonous and rigorous legal drilling, grilling and toiling they all passed through?!
Unfortunately, an average young Nigerian lawyer is merely struggling to make an end’s meet, most a times, with take home pay of less than the Nigerian minimum wage. Here, who takes the blame: the employing principal, the society, the profession or the State – which top notchers habitually live high in the hog?
Sadly, some of our young lawyers who are hitherto seen as the toasts and prides of their respected families with prospect of leadership roles cannot live up to an average financial expectation.
It is not a height of legal sacrilege to assume a disheartening situation where someone referred to as a “revered minister in the temple of justice” mounts the sacrosanct temple on an empty stomach and the society expects a “blessed justice”?
In fact, many of these very brilliant chaps are, not only, incapacitated of financial potency commensurate with their expected social status, but the married among them are also pitiably incapable of feeding their kids three times a day talk less of shouldering the demands of a better and qualitative education for them.
Bachelors amongst them are pretty jittery of getting married, not because of the inherent behavioural intricacies involved but are mainly dissuaded by lack of financial wherewithal.
An apposite inquiry is, how do we assess a bitter situation where a lawyer goes to borrow transport fares from his/her carpenter neighbour or beg “mama put” to open daily food consumption register, like casual labourers? It is often ludicrous that when many of them are addressed by members of the society as The Law!, the spirit of our pitiable guys who are profusely sweating from inside their sun plundered suits, would be proudly elated without observing the elements of derision and mockery embedded in such greetings.
Obviously, it is an excruciating outcry seeing them early in the morning, at the bus stops, “blowing” grammar redolent of Queen’s phonetics while busy struggling for okada/kabukabu and molue/public buses in physical competition with the artisans and market women on daily basis.
When an ordinary road side mechanic, battery charger, rewire, carpenter or panel beater, who got “freedom” within the period of two years can continuously pay the salary of a lawyer of 5 years (or more) at the bar, where is the much praised respect, the much eulogized status as well as the much orchestrated nobility?
I, indubitably, foresee a time when, either by actions or reactions, it would be ordered that all “monies had” under the guise of Stamp and Seal be refunded and returned to respective owners.
A stitch in time, we all know, saves nine.
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