The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu Branch has disclosed its intention to finance its members to monitor indiscriminate police arrests during the 14-day court restriction in Lagos State.
NBA Ikorodu Chairman, Bayo Akinlade, said lawyers volunteering for the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) would receive financial and technical supports. Akinlade said that the project is aimed at protecting citizens’ rights and preventing illegal detention by the police.
“We came up with a strategy to protect the rights of citizens who are arrested during this period especially when the courts are not working at full capacity and may shut down,” he said.
The volunteers, he added, will be provided with full kits during their interaction with suspects at police stations. Akinlade said: “I commend those who will at this period volunteer to protect the basic rights of fellow citizens. No greater love than this, than for a man to lay down his life for another ;sacrifice his time, talent, comfort and treasures .
“Other professions are playing their part during this period; our doctors are there, accountants and bankers are there, transporters are there, food vendors are there, the police are there and the lawyers will be there.”
He advised the volunteers to maintain social distancing and keep themselves safe. Akinlade said: “Wear protective clothing as prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Wear gloves, put on a face mask, make sure you are well covered and have a hand sanitizer.Keep safe distance between you and the suspect, complainant and the police.
“If you meet with any resistance, simply record the circumstances under which you were not allowed to provide your services and withdraw
“If you are not allowed into the police station, stay at the nearest convenient place outside the station and notify the divisional police officer of your location. Do not insist on anything, merely provide pro bono advice and services and record everything.”
On measure put in place for welfare of it member, Akinlade disclosed that the executive of the Association has agreed to refund 20 percent branch dues paid by members to alleviate some of the pressures being faced due to the situation.