Aug 16, 2019

Effective Implementation of the National Legal Aid Strategy (2017 -2022)



The incorporation of legal aid strategy to the Nigerian justice system is one of the greatest innovations of the Nigerian Legal System. The council was established as far back as 1976 by the Military Government and existed to provide legal aid, assistance and generally free access to justice to the society’s poor and indigent. The enabling Act now is the Legal Aid Act 2011. 


Legal Aid is offered to indigent and economically disadvantaged Nigerians who are unable to defend themselves in court. So many Nigerians who cannot for any reason whatsoever afford the services of a lawyer are still unaware of this welcome development. The importance of legal aid was enshrined under Section 46(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This constitutional provision posits that an accused person be provided with financial resources with which he can exercise his right to counsel.


 The Legal Aid has expanded the scope of the previous statutory mandate of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON). In order to ensure access to legal aid,  the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a workshop which was aimed at developing a five year National Strategy for the implementation of legal aid in Nigeria. UNODC would be supporting LACON in a number of activities such as ADR, training in IT and so on. This project is funded by the European Union (EU) and it is implemented at the federal level and ten states of the federation which are Imo, Osun, Lagos, FCT, Yobe and so on. 


The question that arises here include the following: Is five years sufficient to achieve all that needs to be achieved in the justice sector? What have already been done in 2017, 2018 and towards the half quarter of 2019? What are the challenges encountered by UNODC? 


The various questions, issues and challenges of the effective implementation of the National Legal Aid Strategy and the way forward would be discussed at the Plenary Session of the NBA Annual General Conference scheduled to hold on;


Date: Wednesday, 28th August 2019

Time:  11.00 – 12.30

Venue: Lantana, Eko Hotel

Speakers:          

Chair: Tunde Ladipo

Lead Speaker: Dr. Uju Agomoh

Panelists:  Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria

                     Pro Bono and Access to Justice Committee

           
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