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Why we offer free legal services at Enugu panel, by NBA

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Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has told the Panel on Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Killings that it decided to provide at least 50 lawyers to offer free legal services to ensure that petitions of all the victims were heard.

It stated that it was aware that there were indigent petitioners who might not have the resources to pursue their cases, stressing that the free legal services was to ensure justice and fairness to all concerned.

State Chairman of NBA Sub-Committee on Pro Bono, Nnadiume Awforkansi, stated this in Enugu during the panel’s sitting and encouraged those with genuine complaints against the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), among others to send their petitions to the panel.

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Awforkansi said the lawyers would be drawn from the five NBA branches in Enugu, Ezeagu, Nsukka, Oboloafor and Oji River, adding that that they would prepare the briefs, file them and defend the cases.

“We know that a lot of people do not have money to pay lawyers. That is why we decided to provide free legal services to represent those who cannot afford legal services,” he said.

Responding, Chairman of the Panel, Justice Kingsley Udeh (rtd.) appealed to the petitioners who have no lawyers to take advantage of the opportunity to prosecute their cases. Udeh said that there were indications that a good number of the petitioners could not afford legal services.

“We are happy to hear this type of intervention from the NBA, because this will make our work easier. There are a good number of petitioners that could not file four copies of their briefs due to lack of money,” Udeh said. The Guardian learnt that no fewer than 18 cases had already been mentioned and dates fixed for their hearing.

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