No Case: Lawyers say naming dog after a human is no crime


Notable lawyers in Nigeria aligning with Joe Chinakwe, the man who is in trouble for naming his dog ‘Alhaji Buhari’, saying that what he did is not a crime.

The travails of citizen Joe Fortemose Chinakwe, the 30-year-old Ogun State-based trader who has been in the news for controversially naming his pet dog ‘Alhaji Buhari‘, has been condemned by the 2nd National Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Monday Ubani, who has reiterated that constitutionally, it is not an offence for someone to name his dog after somebody else.

Also Read: “Beyond Pardon: Trader who named dog Buhari cries out from prison”

In an interview with Vanguard, Ubani said that in the eye of the law, there is nothing wrong in what Chinakwe did.

“In the eye of the law, it is not criminal for somebody to name his or her dog after another person. It may be offensive by examining the circumstances under which the incident happened.

I understand that a particular dog was named after a neighbour and both of them were not in good terms,  in a Hausa community somewhere in the South-West. So expediency would have prevailed on him not to name his dog after somebody he was quarreling with.”

Adding his voice to the debate, a Lagos State-based lawyer, Barrister Tunji Muyedeen, also said he does not see any criminal offense in the issue:

“As far as I am concerned, there is no way such offense could be sustained in law. Anybody can name his pet after anybody’s name. He can even call the pet his name.

However, spurious charge or charges may be preferred against such person. All of us will be living witnesses to the trial of the man. We will see what evidence the prosecution has to prosecute the accused person.”

A human rights activist, Okey Nwaguna, is of the view that for the case to hold water, the prosecution must show that accused had the intent to cause the breach of public peace.

“‘Yanga Dey Sleep…’: Trader arrested for naming pet dog ‘Buhari'”

“The motive of an accused is never and can never be established by the charge: it must be established by evidence. The prosecution must show that accused had the intent to cause a breach of public peace. What constitutes ‘public’ is key.”

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