The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, said on Thursday, that there are many inmates who remain in prison awaiting trial because they cannot afford to hire lawyers.
He also said there were some inmates languishing in prison because they could not afford to pay fines, some of which amount to less than N5,000.
Apata said this in Abuja during the ‘Sign-On Roundtable on Building a Culture of Pro Bono in Nigeria’ which brought together representatives of various governmental institutions, agencies as well as civil society groups in the justice sector.
The event was jointly organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice, Justice Research Institute, the Nigerian Bar Association and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.
According to Apata, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Department of Public Prosecution of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Julius Ajakaye, the event was designed to “aggregate resources to support indigent, socially vulnerable and disadvantaged Nigerians in accessing justice through providing legal services”.
He also said the initiative, tagged the Clearing House programme, would help to motivate lawyers to cultivate a culture of pro-bono (free of charge services) as part of their practice ethics.
He said the Federal Government had established the Legal Aid Council in 1977 to facilitate and improve access to justice for all citizens, particularly the indigent ones. – Punch
– Sept. 6, 2018 @ 17:32 GMT |