Former DG commends FG for recognising legal aid as citizens’ right

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UJU Hassan-Baba, former Director-General, Legal Aid Council (LAC) Nigeria, has commended the Federal Government for appreciating Legal Aid services as a right of the citizens rather than a privilege.

Hassan-Baba told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja on the sideline of a two-day management retreat for management staff and state heads of Legal Aid Council (LAC) Nigeria.

She said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government had demonstrated its resolve to ensure that every indigent and not so indigent Nigerian had unhindered access to justice through legal aid.

She said that before now, legal aid service was something regarded as a privilege or hand-out to the poor “but if you look at our constitution and even by international standards legal aid service was not a handout.

“It is a right that must exist not just in the Constitution and on paper but a right that must exist in reality.

“A right that an indigent person can walk and touch, read and demand. That is the international best practice for legal aid services,”the former director-general said.

She commended the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for establishing the “Legal Aid Access to Justice Fund”.

She said the fund would attract and generate funds from the private and public sectors to facilitate the services of the Legal Aid Council.

This, Hassan-Baba said, would enable philanthropists and the private sector to have the opportunity to exercise their Corporate Social Responsibility in contributing toward the legal aid fund established by the Minister.

This, according to her, will enable indigent and not so indigent Nigerians access free legal representation especially now that the Legal Aid Council provides Civil Legal Aid Services in cases involving tenants and landlords among others.

“Same thing for a woman that is experiencing sexual harassment in her home. The Legal Aid Council is obligated to provide her with legal information and legal power to say no, no more,”she said.

On the 2-day Management Retreat with the themed, “Repositioning Legal Aid Council for Better Service”, Hassan-Baba said the retreat was awesome.

Hassan-Baba commenced the new Director-General, Abubakar Aliyu, for recognising past leaders and bringing them together with the management staff to brainstorm on the way forward.

“It is an opportunity for people like me that led in the past, to come and share with them our experiences.

“It is unheard of, in the public service, for a recently-appointed CEO to consider bringing back some of his predecessors to ponder on the way forward.

“I think the principle of continuity is appreciated here because if you cannot remember the past, how on earth can you go into the future. I think that is very commendable of this DG

NAN

– Sept. 15, 2019 @ 14:15 GMT |

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