Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) has said the Federal government has put machinery in place to reposition the Legal Aid Council
Malami, also said that the government was committed to ensure the down trodden in the society had unhindered access to Justice.
The minister, gave the assurance at the weekend in Lokoja, the Kogi State while delivering a key note address at the two day retreat organised for the Legal Aid Council with the theme” Repositioning Legal Aid Council for Better Service Delivery”
Malami, who said it was in a bid to give unhindered access to justice to the common man that President Muhammad Buhari supported the repositioning of the Legal Aid Council.
He said the council was established in 1976 with the promulgation of Legal Aid Decree No 56 with the mandate to handle criminal matters, but the Act was repealed in 2011 to enable it expand it’s mandate to accommodate both criminal and civil matters.
The Attoney- General said owing to inadequate funding challenge the council is currently facing, his office has put in a place a committee tagged “ Legal Aid Access to Justice” which he said will address the challenges of the council to make it operate maximally.
In his welcome address, the Director- General of the council, Aliu Abubakar said the retreat was organised to proffer solutions to the problems plauging the Legal Aid Council.
To do this effectively, he said board members ,past Director General of the organisation and other knowledgeable stakeholders’ have been invited to brainstorm and come out with a position paper which will be a guide to the attainable of the council’s goals.
He expressed the resolve of the council to continue to achieve more successes in it’s operations and to give effect to the government’s desire for a just and equitable society where the rights of Nigerians are defended and protected through an effective legal advice and representations to those who are unable to engage private legal practitioners due to their indigent status.
The DG also reiterates the council’s commitment to continue to provide free legal services to indigent Nigerians and commended the Nigeria police Force, the Nigeria Correctional Service and other stakeholders’ for partnering with the council to fulfil it’s mandate
In his good will message, the chief judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajana urged the council to still do more in the area of family dispute resolution saying majority of the people languishing in jail today are traceable to those from broken homes.