Lagos NBA promotes access to justice, offers free legal services in police stations
Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch has pledged to promote access to justice through its Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS).Human Rights Committee (HRC) chairman of the branch, Mr. Okey Ilofulunwa said the scheme would drive implementation of sections 33 and 34 of the Administration of Criminals Justice Act 2015 (ACJA).
“The committee will domicile its members in police detention centres among others to offer free legal services to detainees and help in stemming the filing of frivolous charges which congest our courts,” said Ilofulunwa, who is also the Vice Chairman of the branch. “It will also accompany chief magistrates to oversight detention facilities in the Lagos area towards ensuring compliance with human rights standards,” he said.
As a result, the former Publicity Secretary of the branch, Mr. Emeka Nwadioke, who was a member of the NBA Criminal Justice Reform Committee, has been appointed as the chairman of the PDSS.
Recently, Nwadioke anchored a highly acclaimed re-launch of the Branch annual “Human Rights Summit,” attracting such civil rights heavyweights like Mr. Femi Falana SAN, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Mrs. Ayo Obe and Mr. Monday Ubani among others.
Nwadioke is a consummate rights advocate who has been involved in many campaigns to promote access to justice and the pro bono culture. He has successfully defended some indigent detainees in criminal trials especially under the “Prison Reform Project.” Anchored by Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), the project was a collaboration between PRAWA, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Federal Government of Nigeria, Nigerian Prisons Service and Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.
He is a member of several lawyers’ networks targeted at fostering access to justice, including campaigns on petty offences, freedom of information, death penalty, press freedom and humane treatment of indigent drug arrestees.
Aside from his role as Secretary General & Head of Publicity of Legal Advocacy Response to Drugs Initiative (LARDI), a project implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the European Union (EU), he is also a member of “Capital Defence Lawyers Network,” a pro-life campaign supported by Avocats Sans Frontieres France/Lawyers Without Borders, Embassy of France, Embassy of Belgium and Embassy of Australia.
Lagos Branch hosts some of Nigeria’s most high-profile detention centres including those of the Federal Special Armed Robbery Squad (FSARS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Zone 2 of the Police Force among others.
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