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Necessity of Legal Aid in Nigeria

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The Act states: “The Council shall keep a register of non-governmental organizations and legal clinics that provide legal aid or legal aid to persons entitled to legal aid under this Act; The Council may cooperate with such organizations or use the services of such organizations in a manner consistent with its mandate. Legal aid is the provision of assistance to persons who otherwise cannot afford legal representation and access to the judicial system. Legal aid is considered essential to access to justice by guaranteeing equality before the law, the right to a lawyer and the right to a fair trial. In Nigeria, legal aid is available to provide free legal advice to poor citizens. Legal aid includes legal advice, assistance and representation for persons who are detained, arrested or detained, suspected or accused of a criminal offence or accused of a criminal offence, as well as for victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings, provided free of charge to persons who do not have sufficient resources or who need them in the interests of justice. For reasons of unity, citizens around the world entrust their power to their governments to secure their rights and interests. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the government to strive to enshrine equality, fairness and equality for all before the law. It is therefore expected that the government will ensure access to justice for those who need it through free legal aid and services for those who cannot afford it. Access to justice is in principle guaranteed for all and the concept is closely linked to the rule of law. The formality of the law itself reinforces the role of legal practitioners in ensuring access to justice. Accordingly, human rights instruments, including the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, guarantee the right to legal assistance and representation. But do the provisions concretely guarantee freedoms for all, including poor and unrepresented citizens? This paper argues that Articles 35 (2) and 36 (6) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and similar provisions elsewhere have nothing to offer the poor in terms of legal representation. Essentially, the rights to remain silent or .

until consulting a lawyer” and being defended “by a lawyer of one`s choice” have no useful application for the poor. A poor man arrested, imprisoned or charged cannot exercise declared rights without legal representation. Few people may be fortunate enough to have an independent lawyer to represent them, but the one who has been appointed by the court cannot be “their choice”. Others are not represented in any way. Clinical law students now offer limited legal assistance to poor and unrepresented people in Nigeria. There is no claim that these students can take the place of legal practitioners to meet the safeguards, but in the absence of legal assistance, this is a welcome development. But how does this legal aid work? This is illustrated by a Nigerian experience of this exciting practice. The scope is limited to Nigeria and in particular to the ABSU Legal Clinic.

In addition to the federal government`s efforts to properly position the legal framework to improve the functioning of the Council, LAC has struggled since its inception to overcome its challenges and fulfill its core mandates. He explained that with the support of the British Council, through its Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a roundtable is underway to improve access to legal aid for defendants through public-private partnerships for a group of legal aid providers. This is reflected in the October 2021 report of the Council, which is legally required to update the Council`s mandate under subsections 17(1) and (2) of the Legal Aid Act. “In addition, the decisive progress made by the Council in the field of paralegalism would complement this number of lawyers and fill the gaps in most rural areas. Under section 17 of the Legal Aid Act, legal clinics have the right to grant legal aid or legal aid to persons entitled to legal aid. In addition to the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, other organizations also offer free legal aid services in Nigeria, such as: Civil Liberties Organization; Project for Constitutional Rights; Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP); Hope behind the bars of Africa; Human Rights Branch; Headfort Foundation, among others. â The Council was created primarily to address the legal challenges of poor members of society. However, the Council has not fulfilled its mandate due to a number of factors, such as lack of money, lack of staff, lack of office space, training and retraining of staff and lack of employment opportunities. To go further, the Council must have adequate funding to achieve the objectives of its institution, he said. This report provides an overview and analysis of various factors influencing access to justice in Zimbabwe. In particular, it emphasizes the role of legal information, legal education and the legal profession, as well as legal aid in relation to an individual`s ability to seek and seek protection and redress within the legal system. It also takes into account political, institutional and socio-cultural concerns about access to justice.

Given the positive developments and persistent shortcomings of the current system revealed by the findings, each section and the report as a whole conclude with recommendations to improve access to justice in Zimbabwe. The Council shall establish a service, known as the Civil Procedure Service, to assist indigent persons in gaining access to such advice, assistance and representation before the courts when the interests of the judiciary so require in order to guarantee, defend, enforce, protect or otherwise exercise the rights, duties, duties, duties, privileges or services to which that person is normally entitled under the Nigerian legal system. Legal aid is also granted for any violation or denial of these rights, obligations, obligations, privileges or services. The Board is competent to represent clients before all courts in such civil matters. Dr. Sambo explained that while the council`s main mandate is to provide legal services to those in need, it is difficult to achieve this in a country like Nigeria, where 90 percent of violations of the rights of the needy come from government agencies, especially security agencies. According to the experts, the amendments were aimed at providing better legal services to poor Nigerians in the interest of justice and the demands that the Council guarantee, defend, enforce, protect or otherwise exercise these rights for poor Nigerians. By strengthening the Council, the amendment strengthens the agency`s mandate to provide the necessary legal services to this unfortunate category of citizens. To improve access to justice, there are legal clinics in Nigeria that provide legal assistance and various services to the public for remand prisoners and promote community justice programmes. Their services include: counselling and client interviews, inmate support and rehabilitation, observation and assessment of prison conditions, collection of data on inmate well-being.

But LAC Director General Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar disagrees. According to him, since the Council`s inception, it has had a remarkable impact on the delivery of legal services to the poor and has been repositioned to do more. The legal aid programme in Nigeria has contributed enormously to the administration of justice and the enthronement of the rule of law throughout its long history. The program, founded in 1976 with a mission to bring justice to impoverished members of society, has become the most powerful shield for the common man in his quest for true justice. The aim of this work is to review the current legal framework of the programme in order to identify laudable areas while highlighting key areas in need of urgent reform. Justice is the foundation of peace and tranquility in any society. Justice cannot be guaranteed if there is no access to justice, a fair trial and fundamental rights due to financial constraints. The peoples of each country have transferred their power to their governments to secure their rights and interests. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the government to fight for equality before the law.

One way to do this is to provide free legal aid services to those in need. In Nigeria, the Legal Aid Council was established to serve those in need. In addition to the public legal aid service, there are several voluntary legal aid services. Despite the services, the bias of the Nigerian legal system is not being met at the expense of the poor. This work then examines the context of the legal aid service in Nigeria, the challenges and possible solutions that will serve as corrective tools to fill the gaps in the country`s current legal aid service. These efforts later led to the birth of the Nigerian Legal Aid Association.