Lack of access to justice is an under-publicized, all too present reality in Nigeria and especially rural Nigeria which accounts for 70% of the population.
This situation is further exacerbated by barriers of language, physical distance, and prevailing cultures of social exclusion. Lack of information and low literacy levels result in a lack of public awareness of the rights of citizens and how to manoeuvre the justice system. Lack of access to justice is worst for people who live in extreme poverty, and exceptionally for women.
In a bid to mitigate this dire situation, AGA-Africa Programme collaborated with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, for a training themed ‘Paralegal Service Delivery’ that was held from 26th-28th July 2022.
The training was aimed at providing a platform for participants to network and share experiences on access to justice among stakeholders and paralegals while exploring the role of paralegals in narrowing the gap in the availability of criminal justice services for awaiting train persons (ATPs) and persons in police detention in Nigeria.
The workshop was officially opened by Ebelechukwu Enedah AGA-Africa Programme Country Coordinator for Nigeria. AGA-Africa Programme’s Board Member, Markus Green and Chukukere Unamba-Oparah, AGA-Africa Programme Programme Director and Country Coordinator for Kenya together with Ayilu Abubakar, Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria delivered keynote remarks during the opening.
The highly informative sessions were facilitated by regional and local subject matter experts: Randall Gilmer, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Nevada, Jesus Romero, Executive Director International Legal Affairs, International Mexican Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dorcas Oduor, Secretary Public Prosecution, Principal Deputy to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kennedy Asogwa, Co-founder of Forte Solicitors, Ogechukwu Chibuzor, Chief Legal Aid Officer, Criminal Justice Department, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Bamidele Ibikunle, Director International Operations Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Jane Bianeyin, Legal Aid Lawyer, Department of International Relations, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Okorie Kalu, Head of Insolvency and Business Restructuring & Training Department PUNUKA Attorneys & Solicitors, Isaac Oguche, Legal Practitioner, PUNUKA Attorneys & Solicitors and Eric Otojahi, Legal Practitioner, PUNUKA Attorneys & Solicitors.
The training was officially closed by Markus Green, AGA-Africa Programme Board Member and Ebelechukwu Enedah, AGA-Africa Programme Country Coordinator for Nigeria.