Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Making a Legal Case for Married Women this Valentine (Part II of “Legal Arguments against Friday Beer”)

Credit: Google Images

The days leading up to Valentine are very noisy. The hype never dies. But somehow, I do not help feeling that there is some false note in all the excitement. Beyond young innocents just being despoiled by the giddy jitters of first love; Valentine seems more like a nervous, knee-jerk reaction by guilt-ridden couples scared of admitting that they have either fallen out of love, or completely failed in their reciprocal duties.  It gets even worse for the Married; the women especially.

Thus, whenever I hear married women (or extended mono-dating single ones) talk excitedly about Valentines; I wonder who is being deceived. Even though the Social Media create such enviable scenarios that suggest a picturesque life, one has to face the truth in the dourness of privacy. So, while the woman frantically types away stuff like “Waiting for my True Love’s usual surprise with bated breaths” with one hand; she suppresses bitter sobs with the other, readying herself for another IAT (involuntary alone time) on the 14th. Men are natural predators, and will not waste their imagination on already conquered trophies. They will bear their gifts and wines to unwilling, saucy young lasses, and still feel rejuvenated by thoughts of favourably competing with these young boys. Of course, they do not know how ridiculous they look; so their fun is untainted.

Instead of carrying the cross with stoic cheeriness, maybe it is time for women to move for stricter measures on these errant males. It is even worse than Friday Beer; and deserves more punitive action.  Given the requisite legal platform; their draft-argument will run a bit like this:
Women are a critical unit of every society. They proliferate humanity by their exclusive gift of labour. Often, this Labour is activated by love-driven exchanges; and thus literally becomes a labour of love. In this sense, Valentine period should be dedicated to the happiness and pleasures of committed females (as opposed to flighty, psychedelic hangers-on).

The progress of every household is determined by how well it applies its budget to the necessary ingredients of Love (Please Note that these ingredients extend to treats, trips and such other accessorial expenses as may be in vogue). It shall be criminal for the male leadership of the household to misappropriate same in nurturing trivial habits or conferring same on another female who is not his wife (or its mono-dating equivalent as mentioned above).

Thus, there should be a Valentine Enforcement Team (VET) empowered to ensure strict compliance of husbands and (long-time boyfriends) to the pleasures of the wife. It shall be an offence, a misdemeanor, for a husband to fail to provide an assorted array of practical gifts for his partner on this day. Therefore, such meaningless purchases as Rose Flowers, hand-written love-letters, and cheap wine or chocolate shall not avail as a defence. These are not adequate investments. Our investment in the peace of society must start at the home, at the feet of the woman, precisely, and must be administered in such heavy doses as to secure collateral harmony across households and the society as a whole.  Every married woman shall be entitled to write a Valentines Wish-List and hide same under the pillow of her partner. Children have Christmas for their wish-lists, Men have every midnight for theirs; thus delineating a single day for the woman is not asking too much. These Wish-lists are not to be deemed idle scribbles of mythical origins. The VET shall insist on a minimum of seventy percent compliance with the details enumerated therein. It shall also not avail in defence that the man does not have the requisite funds to meet the items indicated in the list. Banks and Financial institutions shall be encouraged as a matter of policy, to provide loans at significantly reduced interest-rates during the days leading up to Valentine.

Now, while it is a misdemeanor to fail in the above; it becomes a more heinous offence; a felony, for a husband to respond to any alternate Wish-lists outside the marriage. This shall be a strict liability offence, and the sketchiest suspicions of the wife shall sufficiently trigger an investigation and possible arrests. Of course, it goes without saying that the penalties for conviction are largely pecuniary. The desired objective is to make the relationship turn out fine
It shall also not be an excuse that the woman has been a bad wife. The woman’s role as a home-maker depends solely on her right to Free Speech. Thus, in whatever manner she prefers to act, by nagging or fretting, she should be given a platform to exercise this, and be fairly heard too (at least within a few miles of the neighborhood).

The VET shall wield wide powers to, well, vet random couples on a Valentine date. Therefore, at their discretion, they may require instant evidence of marriage or at least committed relationship of the couple. If the man fails to satisfy that he is either a widower or a divorcee (with updated alimony records); he shall go in for it. It shall also be inexcusable for a graying man to be engaged with a much younger female who is not his daughter or niece. In situations as this, the VET can effect arrest without warrant.

Our current permissive Valentine environment impedes the healthy development of family life and consequently corrupts our collective morals as a society. Defaulting men shall be ordered to stay grounded, literally. He must not rise until the woman’s every material whim is fully sated. Further, he would be obliged to pay for an exclusive one-month holiday (inclusive of comprehensive vouchers covering shopping, Spa and candle-lit dinners) for the aggrieved spouse. He shall also be required to take up full-page coloured adverts on the leading Newspapers, declaring his worshipful awe of his one and only wife. A picture of him swathed in smiles will also be appended to the advert, acting as viable Encumbrance-Notice to the whole world.

In severe cases of default, the aggrieved woman may apply for the man’s Facebook and Blackberry profiles to be audited. Every female contact shall be investigated to reveal the true extents of their relationship. Only proven professional colleagues and blood relations (not exceeding the first-cousin stratum) shall remain. The rest will be expunged; after being notified on their Profile pages that the man involved is married/committed. Any lady who is availed this warning but continues nonetheless shall be docked as a disruptive element in the synthesis of societal cohesion: a felony.

Notwithstanding the above remedies; an aggrieved spouse shall still be entitled to demand that the husband be quarantined.  This quarantine period is to ensure that there are no transferable health hazards picked up in the course of his malfeasance. In the interim, the wife shall not suffer neglect and may elect any alternate (uncommitted) male company to temporarily carry out the expected activities of her partner for up to a minimum period of six months. There shall be no obligation for this alternate companion to spend from his pockets for this purpose. The interim arrangement shall be wholly financed from the estate of the defaulting husband/partner.

This is an avoidable nightmare. Chase it off with a few nice gifts; a few warm texts; a good outing and a cozy night…in the legitimate arms of your committed partner.  

Happy Valentine, Ladies!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

5 Briefs a Lawyer would rather not take

Credit: Google Images

The Rule is: Never take the Law into your own hands. This means, leave it all for the Lawyers. This should ordinarily make us excited. Well it does. But trust me, there are a few areas we would rather you do not get us involved in.
Now, here is a quick tour of the Briefs a Lawyer would rather not take:

1.      Police Arrest for Wandering:
Yes, you are a free citizen, entitled to freedom of movement. We know that. The Policemen know this too.  However, the possible charges they can bring against you if you walk the nights are just so numerous that they can’t help gambling on you now and again. It could be for smoking cigarettes in public (PLEASE NOTE that even lawyers are not so sure of the Law on public smoking). It could be for patronizing illicit company under the shadows. (Note that this charge instantly accrues if your female company is not totally swathed in an ankle length bouba. Any slight show of flesh is incriminatory). It could be for behaviour capable of disturbing the peace (This typically happens when after a bottle or two, you are loudly arguing with your stroll-partners on whether Chelsea goes trophy-less this season or not).

Now, immediately they declare you under arrest, you fish out your phone to call your lawyer. We would rather you did not! First, you assume that it is a convenient time for us to appear. And of course, you will call a junior lawyer. They are not paid well enough to drive, so they have to break their heads over the affordable cabs at that hour. Worse still, odds are that you had run out of money, thus, the negotiation shifts to the lawyer. A policeman in the dark with a gun is open only to cash-based negotiations; therefore a lawyer’s rant is a wrong move.

Invariably, you are whisked to the station. This raises a conundrum for the Lawyer. If you sleep there overnight, you will lose all respect for him and the reputation will spread of this kain weak lawyer wey no even fit handle small police case. So, the Lawyer pays from his pockets. The tag “Bail is Free” is a Constitutional hypothesis. Upon regaining your liberty, you pay us a minuscule token: no be just police case? Meanwhile, the lawyer’s head swims with the derisive jibes of the officers. Nobody cuts you to size than a Nigerian policeman, trust me.  So please, if you are an incurable night crawler; try and keep a little cash for police expediencies. Let us sleep. Wake us for more profitable matters.

2.      When you hit a woman’s car
 Oh no! This is the worst case scenario! A Nigerian woman is the worst person to collide with. The scale doesn’t matter: from a microscopic dent to shattered rear-lights, it is capital offence! When you invite us, what do you want us to say? She is stomping and yelling “I only service my car at Honda Place o, and you must take the car there!” Of course, again, you would have called a junior lawyer and exposed them to the lady’s scathing tongue: “Oh, you went and called a lawyer!” She will hiss. “By the time I finish with two of you...” (this part is said with a contemptuous sweep of bejewelled fingers while whipping out a Samsung SIII and punching in some important looking digits).  

In cases like this, your options are limited to apologies. And Lawyers hate apologising. Please do not call us in at this stage. Try a little psychology instead: If she shouts way too much; you should relax, she is probably just bluffing. But if she starts yelling into the phone and you overhear the word “Major” or “Colonel”, well, bear your cross bravely. We cannot help you. On the streets, uniformed men are above the Law. Please call us instead after they had battered you and seized your phones and car keys. It is more dignifying for us to appear in court brandishing your fundamental rights to a sympathetic judge than being present when the fight is at its dirtiest. The Law doesn’t soil its hands, remember?

3.      When your Landlord is evicting you
Pay your rents promptly please. Or otherwise, endeavour to get us involved at the incipient Notice stages. Do not wait until the last minute when all negotiations have broken down and the Landlord has employed thugs to throw you out. What would you have us do? Fight? Plus, there are chances another lawyer is on the other side to counter our effectiveness. You have simply brought us to be made a fool of. To save face, we will probably end up acting as emergency sureties for you, assuring that you will pay at a designated period. Now, we are placed on the line of fire, with possible backlash from the NBA. Please, if you do not get us involved at the preliminary stages, then wait until the eviction is complete. You can even help your case by physically challenging one of the thugs. If your face is sufficiently bruised and disfigured, our chances of securing justice become amplified. Trust us to bring in the requisite drama in the safe haven of the courtroom.

4.      Your rascally son is expelled.
Odds are, he is in a Missionary school and had jumped the fence to go for a party with the girls. He is consequently expelled on both moral and disciplinary grounds. If you wish to contest his expulsion, please do not invite us to take the Brief. How does it sound for a lawyer to challenge constituted (and possibly divine) authority? How do we even start positioning our arguments? We opine that the school authorities acted in unconscionable disregard of petulant whims of a teenager? And in support, we are constrained to throw in those sex-laced Freudian theories to justify that a teen’s excesses should be condoned. It is a Catch 22 situation since we may also be the family’s preferred lawyer handling everything from their land to business speculations.

So, the threat of losing this Retainer looms. Our advice is: do not get a lawyer yet. Start by forming a consortium of other affected parents, and then call us in as their dignified spokesman. We would prefer to have a mediation process where the school Principal leads talks, instead of throwing our full fire-power and subtly teaching the kids that a lawyer can get them off every horrible nest they stir in the future.

5.      Your Visa Application is refused
Ok, so the Embassy staff do not like the face on your passport. You probably didn’t do a good job of concealing your desperate eagerness to escape Nigeria for good, and those eagle-eyed snobs spotted it instantly. And you call a Lawyer in? To do what? Petition the Ambassador or High Commissioner as the case may be? On what grounds? Apart from the absolute defences of Diplomatic Immunity, do you really think we share the conviction that you should force another man to host you in his land? Our take is that you go home and bear the ill news calmly. Legal intervention is easier availed those who travel for high-level businesses. Say you have an invitation to a Conference on Climate Change. If your Visa is denied, we can theatrically sermonize on the monumental collateral loss to the global commonwealth which it could occasion. Big words are always more dignifying.    

Anything else apart from the above? Give us a call.