A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Kanu Agabi has bemoaned challenges lawyers face in the process of establishing a law firm. Speaking as a guest of honour at the commissioning ceremony of a co-working facility for lawyers and professionals built and equip by “Readmore,” in Abuja, Agabi revealed that it takes average of between five to ten million naira to equip a standard.
“The biggest problem Lawyers face is accommodation, especially, if you are practicing in Abuja. To equip a standard law library is between five and ten million naira. It is expensive to have an office in an environment that is conducive, that is why you have a lot of lawyers in shopping malls and plazas.
“It becomes very desperate for such lawyers, when there is no electricity and the shopping mall has to turn on generator and you need a quiet environment for the practice of law, he said.
Mr Agabi also revealed that apart from the challenge of accommodation, there is problem of equipping an office. If you go to countries like the UK, because of the cost of accommodation, lawyers are moving towards shared accommodation.
In the UK, you could have five lawyers in a building, sharing one secretary, sharing stationary and everything. “Readmore” is very innovative. This is something that should have happened long ago. This what many people should engage in because it makes the practice of law easier and efficient because of the high cost running a law firm?
Speaking of the motivation for the project, the founder of Readmore, Mrs Undiga Emnekpere, explained that, “My parent spent all their adult lives in the course of teaching and learning and they taught us above all things the value of knowledge. We weren’t having television at home, so, we were forced to read very widely.
“When I went to my home town a couple of years ago and I asked some of my nephew and nieces to write me a love letters. Write me letters about anything. I was shocked at the level of poor comprehension and writing. It was obvious that many of them hadn’t access to text books, like we did. Many of them will go through a whole academic year without relevant textbooks. ‘By the time moved to the UK, I saw people have so many books to give away to charity, NGOs. The NGOs has warehouses full of books. If you approach them for books they will ask you, “How many garages do you want.”? It dawn on me that we can source for books from Charity and ship them to Nigeria for use.
“Because of exchange rate, text books are so expensive here that many parents cannot afford them. Unfortunately, the public libraries we enjoyed when we were growing up no longer exist. Ordinarily, this what government should do but we can wait for government because the children are growing up and we can’t wait for government. I and my sibling decided to use our property for community library,” she explained.