Posted by News Express | 11 May 2021 | 702 times
By SANDRA UMEH
The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria is to inaugurate a Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) Advisory Committee.
The Coordinator of the Lagos Office of the council, Mrs I.T Akingbade, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the legal aid council has continued to seek for ways to protect the rights of indigents, and is hopeful that setting up a PDSS Advisory committee will create the desired impacts.
The PDSS, she said, would address the problem of pre-trial detention and equally respond to the gap in co-ordination and harmonization of criminal justice administration in Nigeria with a view to ensuring prompt decision on arraignment and prosecution of persons alleged to have committed a criminal offence in Nigeria.
She said that although the ongoing strike by JUSUN just like in several other states, has paralysed the entire justice system making it impossible to gain access to courts, the Aid has however, in its characteristic manner, continued to seek for the protection of rights of indigents citizens
According to her, on April 20, 2020, the legal Aid in the company of the Nigerian Bar Association and other Judiciary stakeholders, had visited the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the State CID, on the need to set up and launch a PDSS Advisory Committee in Lagos State
She added that although the initiative is still in progress, she is hopeful that it will assist in creating the desired impacts.
“The council has in her characteristic manner, continued to seek for the promotion, protection and defence of the rights of every citizen, particularly the indigents and the Vulnerable people, women, children and people living with disability.
“On April 20, 2020 for instance, the Council accompanied by NBA, FIDA, Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre and the Representative of an NGO, the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption visited the Deputy Commissioner of Police SCID and the OC Legal to request for the setting up and Launch of the PDSS Advisory Committee for Lagos State
“The Council again called on the CP to set up and Launch the PDSS Advisory Committee in line with rule 4 of the Police Force Order 20 as Amended. Though PDSS and Legal Aid Pro bono Services are not new to us in Lagos State, we are yet to have the Advisory Committee in place.
“Our effort is yielding profit, as the Command has now promised to do the needful, and in a very short time, we shall have the PDSS Advisory Committee in Lagos State,” she said
According to her, the council has already submitted the names of all the volunteer lawyers in Lagos, as well as the police stations they have chosen to serve, to the officer in charge of legal, adding that the Aid is presently working on upgrading the uniform ID cards previously issued to volunteer lawyers in this respect.
She stated that the legal aid council is engaging in all these activities in fulfilment of her statutory obligation of providing free legal aid services, granting access to justice as well as coordination of pro bono service providers in Nigeria. (NAN)
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