Courtroom Mail has obtained a message by Alex Muoka to Lawyers titled “Of Covid-19, and Lock-Down Things!”

As uncertainty hovers over the Corona Virus pandemic with no end in sight,Lawyers continue to work remotely with no definite date as to when to return to normal life.

Alex Muoka’s seeming informal but powerful message brings encouragement to a disrupted profession.

His message below goes,

Dear Colleagues,

I sit in my study at home – isolated. Thanking God for social media, internet access, and on-line banking. And I’m wondering – how did we get here?

On the 27th of February, 2020, the first case of Corona Virus infection was diagnosed in Nigeria. As of this morning there are 139 known cases and 2 deaths, and we now have Lagos, Ogun and the FCT on Federal ordered lock-down, and several other states in varying degrees of restricted movement and or curfew!

The reality of Covid-19 has hit us.

Whilst China, Italy, Spain, the UK, the US, and the rest of the world were battling the pandemic, we carried on with ‘business as usual’ and thought we were immune. I recall ‘factual’ statements about ‘corona virus not being able to thrive in the tropical heat’ and ‘the black man being immune to the virus’ being bandied about with the assurance of scientific proof … by even the most seemingly intelligent and well-read amongst us – and not just as locker-room gist.

Meanwhile, our political elite were junketing all over the world getting infected and coming home – uncaring and un-quarantined. At a time when we should have been following global developments, projecting logically, erecting barriers, and ramping up our health facilities – we dilly-dallied. And now the chickens have come home to roost!

The reality of Covid-19 is upon us, and one must now adjust as best we can.

I hope you have stocked your larder well. I hope you have prepared. We are in for a long haul, and let no one be fooled. The prognosis is dire – but we remain hopeful.

If we have nothing else, we do have hope – and we must hold on to it. And we must commend the Lagos State Government and others for the proactive steps being taken.

And it’s not all gloom – quarantine is an interesting time. A time for introspection … and prayer. A time for self-discovery – and a return to the things of import. Many will find their faith, rekindle lost love, and heal broken relationships. Of course, there are more mundane discoveries – like that long abandoned DIY home improvement project, or the long neglected TV series that can now be watched without guilt.

For us as lawyers, it’s a time to catch up on overdue briefs and neglected processes. It’s also a time to rest…some, to stop and catch our breath. To work remotely at a more relaxed pace, and with in-between rest breaks – electricity and technology permitting.

I was at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre earlier this year (for a brief visit, of course), and I understand now what we have in common with Jailbirds – we are all imprisoned (or locked-down) … and we all have TIME. Let us use it, and use it well – whilst we stay safe.

Thank you.

Alex Muoka
Former Chairman
NBA Lagos Branch

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