Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Note to Militants: Kidnapping Lawyers is Bad for Business *

Nigerians were relieved when the abducted journalists were released a few weeks ago right after we played the ‘Nigeria does not negotiate with terrorists’ card. Yes, ‘Nigerians’ includes those poor attorneys whose litigious fantasies were shattered by the impatient and apparently unprofessional kidnappers. *Tut-tut* True hostage-takers would have exercised a little more restraint before letting their hostages go so easily. If they had tarried a while, we, the hardworking lawyers, would have had sufficient time to file our papers, suing everyone from the President to the governor of the ‘hostage-state’ and the ‘kidnappers at large’ for the psychological trauma caused by the incidents and the deplorable condition of security in Nigeria which infringed on our fundamental right to life.
The saving grace of their sloppy activities is that they had some insight to keep away from ‘stealing’ legal practitioners. Lawyers are anathema to any successful kidnapping ‘business’ – they will make awful kidnap victims.
No one will pay a kobo as ransom for any lawyer. The world has too many unwanted lawyers so that the kidnappers will be stuck with redundant disposable goods. In fact, people will probably celebrate the idea of losing lawyers without suffering through the nuisance of killing them. I also suspect that a group of ‘Aggrieved Former Clients of Lawyers’ will probably rustle donations to pay the kidnappers to keep the lawyers. Then again, lawyers are too cheap to pay their own ransom. Instead, we will probably draw up a bill of charges for the time spent in captivity.
The legal profession is already bound by so many codes, rules of etiquette and is so highly regulated that the hassle of abduction will be more comfortable than the cutthroat competition we face every day. We will probably find the jungle much more relaxing than law factory. This will place too much stress on the kidnappers who will be constrained to find other locations for their activities.
Lawyers and kidnappers are star-crossed. Kidnappers usually abduct people to bring attention to a worthy cause - it is the oldest technique used by freedom fighters and terrorists. Lawyers on the other hand, cannot bear to share attention with mere mortals, gun-toting militants or not. We love to be the centre of attention so that we will monopolise the post-abduction publicity and no one will even remember the kidnappers’ name or goals. Kidnappers don’t want that.
Kidnappers will find lawyers and their combative verbal skills particularly troublesome. Imagine a militant with a pretty heavy AK-47 in hand, probably a little nervous, also having to deal with a victim who cannot keep her mouth shut – Kidnapper: ‘Eh, move dia! Bristling lawyer: ‘Why? What is your locus standi to ask me to move? I’ll rather stay with here in compliance with the precedent you had earlier set’.
The benefits of kidnapping lawyers far outweigh the inconvenience. Lawyers have a significant dose of sartorial diva pretentions – who wants a victim that insists on a three-piece suit before stepping out? Lawyers will probably ask to review written demands for their own ransom and then, hold up the process by inserting all the archaic language they can muster.
Results of high level research (seriously, I saw it on some high-sounding blog on the internet!) has shown that lawyers have suicidal tendencies due to the long hours we work. This means that the hostage takers will probably chew on more than they can swallow – they have to watch over an irritable lawyer, ensure that the victim doesn’t die on their watch since dead victims are pretty inconvenient to dispose off.
Having the government at you is bad enough. Lawyers will be overkill – they get to sue you at no cost. At the end of the day, the kidnappers will probably let the lawyers go for free in order to get away from us.
Seriously, kidnapping lawyers is bad for business.

* Kidnapping is a dreadful crime. Rookie’s Rants does not find this dangerous activity amusing.

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