PART TWO APPENDIXES
Security, Justice and Growth Programme
Support to Conference on Legal Aid Services in Nigeria
Terms of Reference and Final version of the Workshop Programme
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
The Legal Aid Council (LAC) is a federal government agency with the responsibility of providing
free legal assistance and advice to indigent members of the society (Legal Aid Act Cap 205
Laws of the Federation 1990 as amended). Its services are fashioned in such a way as to
reduce incidences of human rights abuse, violation of other rights and other aspects of
mismanagement of justice.
The LAC is currently operating in all states of the federation except Gombe, Nassarawa and
Kebbi states. It has eight zonal offices mandated to monitor and supervise the activities of the
state offices. The LAC has been trying to improve its service provision and the Security, Justice
and Growth Programme has been providing support which started with a review of the operation
of the Council at federal and state levels highlighting performance and constraints. The review
was followed with a number of reform interventions such as development of a case tracking
system, capacity building of the staff and management team, review and redrafting of the Legal
Aid Bill, supply of law books, reactivation of monitoring visits and settlements of outstanding bills
As a result of these interventions the LAC has been able to dispose of much of its backlog of
cases, and has attracted more funding from both the government and donors. The support from
SJG is continuing in the areas of training and developing a case management system. SJG is
also supporting advocacy for adoption by the National Assembly of a reformed Legal Aid
Council bill, which seeks to enhance delivery of legal aid services and provide a framework for
coordination under the leadership of the Council.
With the appointment of a new board and management, LAC AGAIN APPROACHED sjg
seeking further support to convene a nation-wide stakeholder conference on legal aid services
in Nigeria. In line with vision of the Legal Aid Council on improved service delivery, the Council
is convinced that the provision of legal aid service in Nigeria needs to be adequately
coordinated in order to make effective use of the limited resources that are available to teh
Council and other non-governmental groups that are engaged in the provision of legal aid
services to indigent citizens. In addition to this the Council aims to achieve a greater case
completion in order to provide services to more people which calls for re –evaluation of the
working relationship between the Council and the Judiciary across the Country with a view to
achieving speedy trials. This effort will be further enhanced when stake holder’s inputs is
incorporated into the on-going review of the Legal Aid Council Law. All of these can be
achieved in a conference of stakeholders which will be convened with the goal of charting a new
course for the Council and enhancing the provision and coordination of legal aid services in the
Project Purpose The purpose of this conference is to provide a platform for sharing ideas on
the development of legal aid services in Nigeria. The resultant input will enable the production of
widely accepted methodologies and collaborative activities between the LAC and other
stakeholders in the provision of legal aid to deserving Nigerians.
Also the conference will provide for the development of a policy document that would inform the
draft law on access to Justice and to establish the need to clarify the role of Legal Aid and Legal
Aid providers in Nigeria.
The stakeholders for this project include the Legal Aid Council and the civil society
organisations which need the information on which to base their advocacy and coordinate their
activities; the National Assembly, judiciary and Federal Ministry of Justice (including the Legal
Aid Council) which are the government institutions with the responsibility to legislate and deliver
reforms; and indigent Nigerians who are the beneficiaries of the reform process.
Risks Risk Mitigation Strategy
The main risk is that the This is to be mitigated by advocacy,
recommendations from the conference sensitisation of the various stakeholders
may not be taken into consideration by and ensuring that they are carried along.
policy makers to inform the expected This will be achieved through the
legislative review. legislative advocacy activities of CSOs
being supported by SJG.
Inability of stakeholders to agree on the This risk is to be mitigated by advocacy,
methodology and scope of legal aid sensitisation of stakeholders and ensuring
provision in Nigeria. that the conference attracts a reasonable
representation of legal aid providers.
Inability of stakeholders to have a shared This risk is to be mitigated by employing a
understanding on the provision of legal aid participatory approach at the conference
services in Nigeria. that encourages free exchange of
Recommendations on improvement in the legislative and policy framework for legal aid
provision based on lessons and experiences from the conference of stakeholders.
A better shared understanding between legal aid providers on the focused and
coordinated delivery of legal aid services.
A better shared understanding with the Judiciary at federal and state levels through the
chief judges of the states and the Chief Justice of Nigeria with the Legal Aid Council for
fast tracking legal aid cases.
Findings from this activity are incorporated into the proposed Legal Aid Act
(Amendment) Bill currently before the National assembly for passage into law.
A detailed report from the conference that will include:
o Stakeholders’ inputs on improvements of LAC service delivery.
o A broadly accepted structure, methodology, scheduling, roles, responsibilities,
reporting and management arrangements for the coordination of legal aid
provision in Nigeria.
A policy document that informs the draft law and establishes the need to clarify the role of Legal
Aid Council and legal aid providers in Nigeria to be incorporated into the Legal Aid Act
Baseline and Monitoring Activities
The baselines are the reported achievements and inadequacies in the coordination of legal aid
services in Nigeria which will be documented during the conference. The Legal Aid Council will
ensure that a policy document that informs the draft law and establishes the need to clarify the
role of Legal Aid Council and legal aid providers in Nigeria emerges at the end of the
SJG will monitor this work by ensuring that the various activities under this project are carried
out as specified in these terms of reference and also through the final report.
Anticipated lessons to be learned
Lessons learnt will relate to how the inadequacies in the coordination of legal aid services in
Nigeria are dealt with, and whether the meeting of stakeholders addresses the problems of
delivering legal aid services more effectively. Lessons learnt would also relate to the
effectiveness of collaboration between the Legal Aid Council and other stakeholders, including
civil society organisations, to coordinate legal aid service provision in Nigeria.
Dissemination and Communications Strategy
At the end of the conference, it is expected that a policy document that would inform a draft law
incorporating stakeholders’ input on access to justice and which clarifies the role of legal aid
providers in Nigeria based on an agreement between them would emerge. The document will
form part of SJG’s material for legislative advocacy in the National Assembly. It is also expected
that if the Legal Aid Act (Amendment) Bill is passed into law, SJG will provide support to LAC for
a dissemination strategy on the bill.
The involvement of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the judiciary and civil society groups and the
planned dissemination of the findings among stakeholders - including the National Assembly - is
expected to ensure that the recommendations from this project contribute in fashioning a more
effective and durable legislative and policy framework for the delivery of legal aid services in the
This activity will be managed by the LAC with an oversight from Muhammed Tabi’u, SJG Justice
Component Manager. One hundred and twenty (120) stakeholders will be in attendance on the
first day of the 2-day conference at which legal aid providers will deliver papers on:
What they do and how they do it; and
What challenges/problems they encounter
On the second day, a reduced number of participants estimated to be 40 will split into syndicate
groups for discussion on the major issues and come up with agreed policy recommendations on
legal aid delivery in Nigeria.
The consultant on this project will work with the LAC and will submit a final report – including a
revised Legal Aid bill to Bob Arnot, the National Programme Manager, through the Justice
Key Background Documents
The Evaluation reports of LAC
Reports and documents
See appendix 1
Appendix 1: Action Plan
Activity Responsib Timesc Resour
ility ale ces
An opening event followed by presentation of papers by Legal Aid 30 Legal
stakeholders on what they do and how they do it and also Council October Aid
on the challenges/problems being encountered 2007 Council
Syndicate sessions for more technical discussions on the 1 Legal
coordination plans and how to fast track legal aid cases in Novem Aid
courts across the country. ber Council
A small technical committee to produce a report, including 2 days Legal
a revised bill, based on recommendations from the in Aid
conference Decem Council
1. Registration of Participants 1 Legal
0800-- 930 hours
2007 SJG will
2. OPENING CEREMONY
0930 – 1100 hours
(a) National Anthem
(b) Opening Prayers
(c) Welcome address–NWAKA L. AKINLAMI
(MRS) 0930 – 0940 hours
(d) Opening Remarks OLOROGUN KENNETH
GBAGI 0940 – 0950 hrs
(e) Opening /Keynote address- JUSTICE
KUTIGI, G.C.O. 0950- 1010 hrs
CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
(f) Remark by – DR. BOB ARNOT
1035 – 1045 hours
Security, Justice and Growth Programme
(h) Remarks by National Assembly Committee
1045 – 1100 hours
(i) Address by – CHIEF HOST
1100 – 1110 hours
CHIEF MECHAEL AODOAKAA, SAN
HONOURABLE ATTORNYE GENERAL
5, NATIONAL ANTHEM
6. TEA BREAK
1110 – 1130 hours
7. MORNING SESSION
1130 – 1330 hours
Chairman / Moderator:
MR OLISA AGBAKOBA SAN
4 X 15 MINUTES PRESENTATIO
1130 – 1230 hours
1145 – 1200 hours
(c) CITIZENS RIGHTS DEPRT.
1200 – 1215 hours
Lagos State Public Defenders Office
(d)LEDAP – (Presenter)
1215 – 1230 hours
Chairman / Moderator Remarks
11230 – 1240 hours
8, DISCUSSIONS, QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION
1240 – 1330 hours
1330 – 1430 hours
10. AFTERNOON SESSION
1430 – 1630 hours
Hon Justice Tijjani Abubakar OFR
Chief Judge Jigawa State
4 X 15 MINUTES PRESENTATION
1430 – 1530 hours
(a) CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PROJECTS
1430 – 1445 hours
(b) OPEN SOCIETY JUSTICE INITIATIVE
1445 0 1500 hours
(c) LAW CENTRE (SJG) – Paul (Enugu)
1500 – 1515 hours
1515 – 1530 hours
1530 – 1545 hours
10. DISCUSSUINS, QUESTIONS & ANSWER SESSION
1545 – 1645 hours
11. CLOSING – CHARIMAN’S CLOSING REMARKSA &
5.3.2 DAY 2---15th November, 200
OBJECTIVE: TO CRITICALLY APPRAISE LEGAL AID
PROPOSED AMENDEMENT BILL (SYNDICATE
Chairman/Moderator Security, Justice and Growth
1, PLENARY SESSION BRIEFING
2, SYNDICAE INTO FOUR GROUPS
0900 – 0930 hours
3, TEA BREAK
0930 – 1000 hours
4, DISCUSSION/ DELIBERATION SESSION
1000 – 1300 hours
ALHALI ALI MUSA HASSAN
FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL / PERMANENT
SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE JIGAWA
1300 – 1400 hours
1400 – 1700 hours
6. REPORTS FROM GROUPS
1400 – 1600 hours
5 x 25 minutes
1400 – 1425 hours
1425 – 1450 hours
1450 – 1515 hours
1515 –1540 hours
Preparation and Presentation draft of Communiqué /
8. CLOSING REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN / PRESS
9.VOTE OF THANKS BY DG LACoN (NWAKA AKINLAMI
10.CLOSING PRAYERS & NATIONAL ANTHEM
Submit final report Legal Aid 1 Consult
Council Decem ant
Final version of the Workshop Programme1.
Registration of Participants 0800-- 930 hours
2. OPENING CEREMONY 0930 – 1100 hours
(a) National Anthem
(b) Opening Prayers
(c) Welcome address–NWAKA L. AKINLAMI (MRS) 0930 – 0940 hours
(d) Opening Remarks OLOROGUN KENNETH GBAGI 0940 – 0950 hrs
(e) Opening /Keynote address- JUSTICE KUTIGI, G.C.O. 0950- 1010 hrs
CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
(f) Remark by – DR. BOB ARNOT 1035 – 1045 hours
Security, Justice and Growth Programme (SJG)
(h) Remarks by National Assembly Committee 1045 – 1100 hours
(i) Address by – CHIEF HOST 1100 – 1110 hours
CHIEF MECHAEL AODOAKAA, SAN
HONOURABLE ATTORNYE GENERAL
5, NATIONAL ANTHEM
6. TEA BREAK 1110 – 1130 hours
7. MORNING SESSION 1130 – 1330 hours
Chairman / Moderator:
MR OLISA AGBAKOBA SAN
4 X 15 MINUTES PRESENTATIO 1130 – 1230 hours
(a), NULAI 1145 hours
(b), LACoN 1145 – 1200 hours
(c) CITIZENS RIGHTS DEPRT. 1200 – 1215 hours
Lagos State Public Defenders Office
(d)LEDAP – (Presenter) 1215 – 1230 hours
Chairman / Moderator Remarks 11230 – 1240 hours
8, DISCUSSIONS, QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION 1240 – 1330 hours
9. LUNCH 1330 – 1430 hours
10. AFTERNOON SESSION 1430 – 1630 hours
Hon Justice Tijjani Abubakar, OFR
Chief Judge Jigawa State
4 X 15 MINUTES PRESENTATION 1430 – 1530 hours
(a) CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PROJECTS 1430 – 1445 hours
(b) OPEN SOCIETY JUSTICE INITIATIVE 1445 0 1500 hours
(c) LAW CENTRE (SJG) – Paul (Enugu) 1500 – 1515 hours
(d) FIDA 1515 – 1530 hours
Chairman/Moderator’s remarks 1530 – 1545 hours
10. DISCUSSUINS, QUESTIONS & ANSWER SESSION 1545 – 1645 hours
11. CLOSING – CHARIMAN’S CLOSING REMARKSA & ANNOUCEMENTS
DAY 2---15th November, 200
OBJECTIVE: TO CRITICALLY APPRAISE LEGAL AID PROPOSED AMENDEMENT BILL
Chairman/Moderator Security, Justice and Growth Programme (SJG)
1, PLENARY SESSION BRIEFING
2, SYNDICAE INTO FOUR GROUPS 0900 – 0930 hours
3, TEA BREAK 0930 – 1000 hours
4, DISCUSSION/ DELIBERATION SESSION
SYNDICATE ASSINGMENT 1000 – 1300 hours
ALHALI ALI MUSA HASSAN OF A. M. Hassan & Co
FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL / PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
5.LUNCH 1300 – 1400 hours
AFTERNOON SESSION 1400 – 1700 hours
6. REPORTS FROM GROUPS 1400 – 1600 hours
5 x 25 minutes
Group 1 1400 – 1425 hours
Group 2 1425 – 1450 hours
Group 3 1450 – 1515 hours
Group 4 1515 –1540 hours
Group 5 1540—1605 hours
Preparation and Presentation draft of Communiqué / Resolution
8. CLOSING REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN / PRESS BRIEFING
9.VOTE OF THANKS BY DG LACoN (NWAKA AKINLAMI (MRS))
10.CLOSING PRAYERS & NATIONAL ANTHEM
CLOSE 1700 hours
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
LEGAL AID (AMENDMENT AND CONSOLIDATION) BILL 2008
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Powers of the Legal Aid Council
1. Legal Aid Council
2. Membership of the Governing Council, e.t.c.
3. Functions of the Governing Council.
4. Director- General and other staff of the Council.
5. Functions of the Director – General.
6. Service in the Council to be pensionable.
7. State branches of the Council.
8. Power of the President to give directions to the Council
Legal Aid and Advice
9. Legal Aid and Access to Justice
Financial Aspects of Legal Aid
10. General Fund and Legal Aid and Access to Justice Fund.
11. Persons entitled to Legal Aid.
12. Ascertainment of means
13. Power to accept gifts.
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
15. Legal Practitioners.
16. Demand for or receipt of certain payments prohibited.
17. Lawyers serving in Youth Corps to give free Legal Aid.
18. Non-Governmental Organizations, Law Clinics and Paralegals.
19. Pro bono cases and Enjoyment of Privileges.
20. Prison Monitoring and Review of Cases of Awaiting Trial Inmates.
Miscellaneous And Supplementary
21. How information Disclosed are to be treated
22. Penalty for false information
23. Annual Reports
26. Short Title, e.t.c.
Supplementary Provisions Relating to the Council.
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
LEGAL AID ACT (AMENDMENT AND CONSOLIDATION) BILL 2008
* A Bill for an Act to amend and consolidate the Legal Aid Act 1976 (as amended by
Decree No. 22 of 1994) in line with international standards, by expanding the scope of
services provided and the establishment of Legal Aid and Access to Justice, Funds.
[1976 No, 56 1978 No. 34 1979 No.18 1986 No. 10 1990 No. 205 1994 No. 22]
BE IT ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the
authority of same
Establishment of the Legal Aid Council
1. Legal Aid Council
(1) There is hereby established a Council to be known as the Legal Aid Council which shall be
a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in
its corporate name
(2) The Council shall have the general responsibility for the provision in accordance with this
Bill of Legal Aid, advice and access to justice in respect of persons entitled thereto in
accordance with this Bill.
(3) The Council shall comprise a Chairman to be appointed by the president, who shall be a
retired judge or a legal practitioner of repute of not less than ten years standing or an
academic with demonstrated expertise in the field of legal assistance and delivery and the
following other members;-
(a) representative of the Attorney General,
(b) representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance,
(c) representative of the National Youth Service Corps Directorate,
(d) representative of the Inspector-General of Police,
(e) representative of the Comptroller General of Prisons,
(f) four representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association,
(g) representative of the Nigerian Labour Congress
(h) representative of the Women Group providing free legal aid services,
(i) one representative each from the states sponsoring legal aid services
(j) representative of the Civil Society based organization providing of legal
(k) representative of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
(4) The Director-General shall be a member of the Council and shall be responsible for
provision of the secretariat and logistics for all meetings and other businesses of the
(5)The members of the Council shall be appointed by the President on the
recommendation of the above named persons, groups or institutions.
The supplementary provisions set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with
respect to the tenure of office of members of the Council and other matters mentioned therein.
3.Functions of the Council
(1) The functions of the Council shall include-
(a) the establishment of broad policies and strategic plans of the Council in
accordance with the provisions of this Bill.
(b) the responsibility for setting out the operational and administrative programmes
including financial and targets in line with the provision of this Bill,
(c) the responsibility of measuring performance against set targets and supervisory
management to ensure that targets are achieved,
4. Director- General and other Staff. Re-Draft?
(1) There shall, on the recommendation of the Attorney General of the Federation, be
appointed by the President a Director General of Legal Aid Council, who shall be
the Chief Executive Officer of the Council and responsible for the day to day
management of human, financial and material resources in accordance with this
(2) A person shall not be qualified to hold or to perform the functions of the office of
Director-General unless he is a legal practitioner of not less than ten years standing.
(3) There shall be paid to the Director-General such salary and allowances as may be
determined by the Council with the approval of the National Salaries and Wages Commission:
Provided that such salary and allowances are not less than those payable to the Director-
General of any establishment of the Government of the Federation.
(4) There may be appointed from time to time, by the Council, such supporting legal and
other staff as may be required for the purposes of the efficient performance of the duties of the
Council under or pursuant to this Bill.
(5) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the remuneration and tenure of office and
conditions of service of the staff of the Council shall be determined by the Council in
consultation with the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
6. Service to the Council to be Pensionable
(1) The provisions of the Pension Reform Act shall apply appropriately to the Director
General and other members of staff of the Council in the same manner as it applies to
persons holding equivalent grades in the Public Service of the Federation.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the appointment of a person to
any office in the Council on terms, which preclude the grant of a pension and gratuity in respect
of that office.
7. Structure of the Council.
(1)The following shall form the major departments at the Councils head office
(a) Finance and Administration,
(c) International Relations,
(d) Community Relations, and such other departments or units as the Council
(2)There shall be a Zonal office of the Council in each of the six geo-political zones to be
headed by a zonal officer of appropriate rank who shall be responsible for
coordination of State offices and their activities.
(3) The zonal officers shall report to and be responsible to the Director-General.
(3) The Council shall establish an office in each State of the Federation to be headed
by an officer of appropriate rank who shall be responsible for provision of service in the
state and reports to the zonal officer in whose jurisdiction the state belongs.
(4) Each office of the Council shall operate three legal service units namely
(a) Criminal Defence Unit,
(b) Civil Litigation Unit and
(c) Community Service Unit
8. Power of the President to give directions the Council
The President may give the Council directions of a general character or relating
generally to particular matters with regard to the exercise by the Council of its functions under or
pursuant to this Bill.
Legal Aid and Advice
9. Scope of Legal Aid and Access to Justice
(1) The grant of legal aid, advice and access to justice shall be provided by the Council in
the following areas;-
(a) Criminal defence service,
(b) Advice and assistance in civil matters including representation in Court; and
(c) Community Legal Services.
(2) The Council shall establish and maintain a service to be known as the Criminal
Defence Service for the purpose of assisting an indigent person involved in or
subject to any criminal investigation or proceedings.
(3) The Council shall establish and maintain a Service to be known as the Civil Litigation
Service for the purpose of assisting an indigent person to access such advice,
assistance, and representation in court.
(4) Where the interest of justice demands, to secure, defend, enforce, protect or
otherwise exercise any right, obligation, duty, privilege interest or service to which
that person is ordinarily entitled under the Nigerian legal system.
(5) Legal Aid shall be granted in respect of any breach or denial of any right, obligation,
duty, privilege or service. The Council shall be responsible for the representation
before any court or tribunal for such civil matters.
(6) The Council shall establish, maintain and develop a service known as Community
Legal Service for the purpose of promoting individual services and in particular for
ensuring that individuals have access to services that effectively meet their needs.
Individuals; Provided that the Council shall reserve the right to set the limit of such
(7) Every person authorized by the Council to exercise the functions relating to
Community Legal Service shall do so in such a manner as to-
(e) promote improvement in the quality of services provided for the benefit of
those who need them
(f) ensure that the services provided in relation to any matter are appropriate
having regard to its nature and importance and
(g) achieve a swift and fair resolution of disputes in order to avoid the
necessity of a protracted court proceeding.
(8) Legal Aid shall consist, on terms provided by this Bill of-
a) the assistance of a legal practitioner including all such assistance as is usually given
to by a private legal practitioner in the steps preliminary or incidental to any proceedings
b) representation by a legal practitioner before any court and
c) such additional aid (including advice ) as may be prescribed.
Where regulations made pursuant to Legal Aid, provision shall be made therein to the effect that
persons shall not be given Legal Aid in connection with any such proceedings unless he shows
to the satisfaction of the Council or other person authorized by the Council that he has
reasonable grounds for taking, defending or being a party thereto, and may also be refused
legal aid if it appears unreasonable that he should receive it in the particular circumstances of
Financial aspects of Legal Aid
10. FUNDS AND ACCOUNTS
There is hereby established the following;
(1) a fund to be known as the Legal Aid General Fund for the day to day administration of
the Council into which shall be paid:
(a) such sums as may be appropriated annually by/from the National Assembly
pursuant to Section 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(b) such sums as may be appropriated annually or otherwise provided from time to
time by the Government of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
(2) Access to Justice Fund to be used solely for funding legal services
rendered in connection with the provision of Legal Aid and Access to
(a) Such sum as may be appropriated by the Government of the Federation
and the Federal Capital Territory for prisons decongestion and other legal
aid related activities,
(b) such sums as may be provided by the Nigerian Bar Association as is
contribution to the Council.
(c) such sums as may be paid by way of contribution under or pursuant to the
provisions of this Act or any other enactment; and
(d) subject to section 13 (2) of this Act, all sums accruing to the Council by
way of gifts, testamentary disposition, contributions from philanthropic
persons or organizations or otherwise howsoever.
(2) Disbursement from both Funds shall be made in accordance with Rules of Financial
Regulation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
11. Persons Entitled To Legal Aid
(1) Legal Aid shall only be granted to a person whose income does not exceed 200%
of the subsisting National Minimum Wage.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the Council may approve
the giving of legal Aid on a contributory basis to a person whose income exceeds 200% of the
national minimum wage however;-
(a) the Council shall recover the expenses incurred in giving Legal Aid to such a
person by the retention of both an amount equal to 10 per cent of the damages
awarded and the costs awarded to him,
(b) where such a person has been granted Legal Aid on a contributory basis he
shall be entitled to a refund of his contribution from such costs,
(c) no contribution made under subsection (2) of this section shall exceed the
appropriate sum calculated in the manner prescribed for that purpose,
(d) the Council shall not be liable in any way to pay costs howsoever
awarded against a person granted Legal Aid and
(e) the rules of any court relating to payment of fees shall not apply to a
person granted legal aid.
12. Ascertainment of Means
(1) In ascertaining the means of any person for the purposes of this Bill, that person’s
income and his personal and real property shall be taken into account.
(2) In assessing a person’s means such of his commitments as may be prescribed,
shall be deducted from the resources, which would otherwise be his means.
13.Power To Accept Gifts
(1) The Council may accept gifts of land, money or other property upon such terms and
conditions, if any, as may be specified by the person or organization making the gift.
(2) The Council shall not accept any gift if the conditions attached by the person or
organization making the gift are inconsistent with the functions of the Council.
The accounts of the Council shall be audited three months after the end of each financial year
by auditors appointed by the Board and the fees of the auditors and the expenses for the audit
generally shall be paid from the funds of the Council.
Legal Practitioners and Other Service Providers
15. Legal Practitioners
(1) Panels of Legal Practitioners willing to act for persons receiving Legal Aid (whether
gratuitously or on payment of fees) shall be maintained by the council and there may be
separate Panels for different purposes and, for different courts and different districts.
(2) Any legal practitioner shall be entitled to have his name on the appropriate panel or
panels unless the designated staff of the Council thinks that there is reason (arising out of
his conduct when acting or selected to act for persons receiving legal aid or his professional
conduct generally or, in the case of a member of the firm for excluding him.
(3) Where a legal practitioner is aggrieved by any decision excluding him (whether
permanently or temporarily) from any panel he may refer the matter to the Director-General
and if he is not satisfied with the decision of the Director-General he may appeal to the
16. Demand for or receipt of certain payments prohibited
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a legal practitioner or other legal service
provider who has acted for a person receiving Legal Aid shall be paid for so acting by the
Council out of the Legal Aid and Access to Justice Fund. The said legal practitioner or
legal service provider shall not be entitled to charge or recover from a legally assisted
person any amount:
(a) by way of costs in respect of work assigned by the Council to a private legal
practitioner on behalf of that person or
(b) by way of reimbursement of expenses incurred on behalf of that person in
connection with that work except with the approval of the Council.
(2) A provision of any agreement (whether in writing or not or whether entered into
before or after the commencement of this Bill):
(a) under which the operation of this section is excluded, modified or restricted, or
(b) which has the effect of excluding, modifying or restricting the operation of this
section is void.
(3) the sums payable under (1) of this section to a legal practitioner shall be such as
may be determined by the Council.
(4) In the foregoing provisions of this part references to acting for a person receiving legal aid
shall in relation to a legal practitioner shall include acting indirectly for such a person, as agent
for his legal practitioner so however that any selection from any panel of a legal practitioner to
act as agent shall be made by the legal practitioner for whom he is to act.
Provided always that the Council shall review the panels of legal practitioners annually
and only legal practitioners who has paid their annual subscription/practicing fee to the
Nigerian Bar Association can be appointed by the Council to act for persons receiving
17. Lawyers serving in Youth Corps to give free Legal Aid.
Not withstanding the provisions of any other enactment (including rules of court), legal
practitioners for the time being serving in the National Youth Service Corps and posted to the
Council may, if the Council so requires, act for a person receiving legal Aid, in which case no
payment shall be made by the Council or any other person for the services of any such legal
18 deleted it is dealing registration of NGO’S providing legal services.
19. Pro bono cases and enjoyment of privileges.
(1) Any legal practitioner who institutes and or conducts pro bono cases on behalf of
awaiting trial inmates falling within the category of persons entitled to legal aid under
this Bill shall inform the Council , which shall keep record of and monitor the progress
of such cases.
(2) Any legal practitioner who applies to be appointed to the rank of Senior Advocate
of Nigeria shall be required to show evidence of diligent conduct of not less than
five pro bono cases in the legal year immediately preceding his application.
20. Prison Monitoring and Review of cases of awaiting trial inmates
(1) The Council shall from time to time conduct inspection of prisons, police cells and
other places where accused persons are held in order to assess the
circumstances under which such persons are detained.
(2) It shall be the duty of all police officers and courts to inform an accused person
of his/her entitlement to the services of a legal practitioner from the moment of
arrest and if such suspect cannot afford the services of a legal practitioner to
notify the Council to represent him/her if he/she so desires
(3) The Council and the lawyers designated by it shall be entitled to have access to
and interview suspects detained in prisons, police stations, or any other places of
detention in Nigeria and such designated lawyers shall be entitled to be present
during the interrogation of the suspects in accordance with the rights guaranteed
to suspects under the Constitution.
(4) The Council shall regularly liaise with the Judiciary, Attorney General of the
Federation or of any state, the Department of Public Prosecution, the Inspector
General of Police, the Commissioners of Police, Prisons or other Agencies as may
be appropriate, in order to avoid delay in the prosecution of cases of inmates
(5) It shall be unlawful for any Police officer or other law enforcement agent to
intentionally prevent or hinder the Council or any of its lawyers at any time from
the moment of arrest, from attending to the legal needs of suspects detained in
any detention centre in Nigeria.
(6) A law enforcement agent or other officer who violates this provision shall be
liable to a fine of N50, 000.00.
(7) It shall be lawful for the Council to institute an application in any appropriate court
for the review of the case of any person who has been held in any place of
custody without trial for a period exceeding the maximum allowed by the
(8) (a)The Council may initiate or undertake civil or other proceedings for remedies
on behalf of any person detained without lawful justification.
(b) Without limiting them, such remedies may include administrative or other
disciplinary measures against the law enforcement or other officer responsible for
violation, compensatory damages, restitution, public or other form of apology or
such other remedies as may be available under the relevant law.
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTARY
21. How information disclosed are to be treated
(1) All information collected or received by the Council in the discharge of its
functions and powers under this Bill shall be confidential and may not be publicly
(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not prevent the disclosure of information for any
purpose with the consent of the person in connection with whose case it was furnished or
his legal representative and where he did not furnish it himself, with that of the person or
body of persons who furnished it.
(3) Any person who otherwise than in compliance with the provisions of this Act or of any
regulations made hereunder discloses information obtained by him shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of N50,000.00 or imprisonment
for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
22. Penalty for False Information
If a person seeking or receiving Legal Aid or advice in furnishing any information required
under or pursuant to this Act, knowingly or recklessly makes any statement which is false in
a material particularly, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine of N50, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or
to both such fine and imprisonment.
23. Annual Reports
The Council shall in each year make a report to the Attorney General containing an account of
its operation and transactions throughout the preceding year and a statement of its account
audited in accordance with S 14 of this Bill.
(1) The Council may make regulations generally for the better carrying on of the purposes of
this Bill and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such regulations may
make provisions for;-
(a) for anything which is to be or which may be prescribed under this Bill;
(b) the form of any certificate, application and any other document which may be
required for the purposes of this Bill,
(c) the manner in which the means of any person who may be eligible for Legal Aid
shall be computed,
(d) the manner in which contributions into the Legal Aid Fund and the Access to
Justice Fund are to be made by persons receiving legal aid or advice and in which
sums owing from such persons to the Council may be recovered,
(e) standard to be observed in assigning a legal practitioner to Community Legal
Service or other services including fees payable,
(f) reports and information required by the Council for the purposes of this Bill to be
supplied by public officers and other persons and
(g) any other matters which appear to the Council necessary or desirable for giving
effect to the provisions of this Act or for preventing abuses thereof.
To be deleted
(2) The Council shall also make regulations for the involvement of non-governmental
legal aid providers in accordance with this Bill.
(1) In this Act unless the context otherwise requires-
“Attorney- General means Attorney - General of the Federation.
“Council” means the Legal Aid Council established under section 1 of this Act.
“Community Legal Services” are services offered to the members of the
Community collectively and individually which may include non- court advisory
services, public awareness service, mediation, domestic violence counselling and
other counselling services
“Offence” means an offence of any class as specified by the Laws of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria or any part thereof.
“Paralegal” describes any person although not admitted to the practice of law in
Nigeria performs substantially legal tasks under the direction and supervision of a
legal practitioner. It shall for the purposes of this Act be immaterial whether the
said paralegal is employed (or under contract to) by the community Legal Service,
a Legal Department of the Council, a legal practitioner, law firm, governmental
agency, non governmental or other Legal Aid provider or any such entity..
“Proceedings” means; -
(a) any proceedings before any court dealing with an individual and
(b) and any other such proceedings concerning an individual before
such court or body as may be authorized by the Council.
“Tribunal” includes an ad hoc tribunal.
(2) In this Act, references to persons seeking or receiving Legal Aid shall not include
references to corporate bodies.
Tenure of Office
1. (1) The Chairman shall hold office for three years and may be eligible for re- appointment for
a further and final term of three years.
(2) Members of the Governing Council (not being ex officio members) shall hold office for
three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further and final term of three years.
2. (1) The Chairman or any of the members of the Council referred to in paragraph 1 (2) of this
Schedule may by notice addressed to the Council resign his/her appointment.
(3) The tenure of the office of the Director-General of the Council shall be five years and
may be renewable by the Council for one final term of five years on the basis of
(4) Sub-section (3) shall not apply where the appointment of the Director-General is
from the public service of the Federation, any state or Local Government.
Proceedings of the Governing Council
4. (1) Subject to this Bill and to section 27 of the Interpretation Act, the Council may make
standing orders regulation its proceedings or of any committee thereof.
(2) The quorum of the Council shall be the Chairman and three other members, and the
quorum of any committee of the Council shall be determined by the Council.
5 (1) Subject to the provisions of any standing orders of the Council the Council shall meet
whenever it is summoned by the Chairman; and if the Chairman is required to do so by notice
given him by not less than three other members he shall summon a meeting of the Council to be
held within 20 days from the date on which the notice is given.
(2) At any meeting of the Council the Chairman shall preside, but if he is absent, the members
present at the meeting shall appoint one of their members to preside at that meeting.
(3) Where the Council desires to obtain the advice of any person on a particular matter, the
Council may co-opt him as a member for such period as it thinks fit; but a person who is a
member by virtue of this sub-paragraph shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the
Council and shall not count towards a quorum.
(4) Notwithstanding anything in the provision of subparagraphs (1), (2) and (3) of this
paragraph, the first meeting of the Council shall be summoned by the Chairman.
6. (1) The Council may appoint one or more committees to carry out, on its behalf, such of
its functions as it may determine.
(2) A committee appointed under this paragraph shall consist of the number of persons
determined by the Council, and not more than one third of those persons may be
persons who are not members of the Council and a person other than a member of the
Council hall hold office in accordance with the terms of the instrument by which he was
(3) A decision of the committee of the Council shall have no effect until it is confirmed by
6. (1) The fixing of the seal of the Council shall be authenticated by the signature of the
Director-General or of some other person authorized generally or specially to act for that
purpose by the Council.
(2) Any contract or instrument which if made or executed by any person not being a
body corporate, would not be required to be made under seal, may be made or executed
on behalf of the Council by any person generally or specially authorized for that purpose
by the Council.
(3) Any document purported to be a document executed under the seal of the Council
shall be received in evidence and shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed as if it
were so executed.
7. Members of the Council who are not public officers shall be paid out of monies at the
disposal of the Council such as travelling and subsistence allowance in respect of any
period spent on the business of the Council as the President may determine.
8. The validity of the proceedings of the Council or of a committee thereof shall not be
affected by any vacancy in the membership of the Council or committee, or by any
defect in the appointment of a member of the Council or of a person to serve on the
committee, or by reason that a person not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings.
9. Any member of the Council, and any person holding office on a committee of the
Council, who has a personal interest in any contract or arrangement entered into or
proposed to be considered by the Council or a committee thereof shall forthwith disclose
his interest to the Council or to that committee and shall not vote on any question
relating to the contract or arrangement.
WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, LEGAL AID COUNCIL OF NIGERIA,
MRS. NWAKALA L. AKINLAMI AT THE STAKEHLDERS’FORUM TO MARK THE 30TH
ANNIVERSARY OF THE COUNCIL ON WEDNESSDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH 2007
I want to start this address by thanking the Almighty God or granting us the opportunity to
witness this Stakeholders’ forum today. This occasion mark a milestone in the efforts to provide
equitable and free access to justice for the teeming majority of our citizens.
The provision of free legal service to indigent Nigerians has bee described as a necessary
impetus to the attainment of the rule of law in a democratic setting. This is premised on the fact
that it is only when every citizens has unfettered access to justice without fear of the cost that is
being ascribed to it, that Nigerians of all cases can proudly be said to enjoy this dividend of
The history of free legal services in Nigeria stated in the 70s with the great founding fathers of
this laudable initiative refusing to be cowed by the militarism that pervaded the political
landscape of Nigeria then. Thus the struggle undauntedly led to the establishment of the Legal
Aid Council of Nigeria by the Federal Government in 1976.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, we are here gathering to celebrate the pioneering efforts
of these patriot who have laboured to institutionalize today’s Legal Aid council of Nigeria not
only for the ceremony, but to re-affirm our commitment to building a virile, responsive ad
proactive Legal Aid structure that would meet the yearning of Nigerian in the next two decades.
To my mind, there is no better way to demonstrate our appreciation than to build a better future
for these promising agency i.e. Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.
The task ahead is enormous; this is against the backdrop of the ever increasing challenges of
availing our services to the large army of oppressed compatriot who are desirous of free legal
Consequently, over the year the Council in line with its mandates has bee in the forefront of the
battle to improve on the availability of access to justice for the less privileged citizens.
At this juncture, it is indeed necessary to recognize the supportive role of our international
donors and development partners, who have over the years demonstrated their commitment to
our cause. Their effort would not be in vain, and we express our heart felt gratitude for all they
have done in the past and what they would still do in the future to help us add more strength to
our voice for the voiceless indigent Nigerians.
Without sounding like Oliver Twist, it is also necessary to state that the gap between what we
need and what we have is still very wide. This gap would require sustained assistance from you
all, while we also use this opportunity to request assistance from other well spirited individuals,
corporate organizations and philanthropist to come to our aid. This is most essential now that
the Council is at the threshold of exploring aggressive grassroots sensitization and awareness
communication methods to penetrate the remote locations in the country in order to effectively
deliver our mandate.
The Legal Aid council of Nigeria sincerely hopes to use the platform of this 30th anniversary to
energize the council for the challenges ahead. This stakeholders’ meeting is therefore a forum
that would enable us as a people with common destiny chart a course for a better future.
It is my desire to see all participants avail themselves of the opportunity of this forum to ponder
on the past experiences of the situation, and device strategies towards an improved, enhanced
and sustainable ways of accessing justice by all Nigerian irrespective of their economic ability or
Let me use this opportunity, aloes, to explain that we expected that at the end of this Forum we
would have a policy document that will guide the practice of Legal Aid delivery in the county.
The policy is expected to assist in revising and improving upon some provisions of the Legal Aid
Bill which had earlier been forwarded to the national Assembly if we find it necessary.
It is my hope that this forum will be more than an avenue for sharing of experiences and ideas,
but will serve as a significant milestone which produced the necessary framework for a better
legal aid delivery in Nigeria. The attainment of the strategic objectives of this Forum will
therefore depend to a large extent on the capacity and dedication of all stakeholders involved in
the provision of legal aid services that are gathered here today.
In concluding this address, I wish to express my personal gratitude as well as that of the Federal
Government of Nigeria to the Department for International Development (DFID) of the British
council which has collaborated with us on the organization of this Forum i.e. Council.
It is my hope that through our individual and collective contributions, this country can look
forward to an era of equitable and adequate access to justice by all Nigerians not withstanding
the financial situation of the individual.
On that note, I welcome you all to this Stakeholders’ Forum and wish you fruitful deliberations.
Nwaka L. Akinlami (Mrs.)
Diretor – General,
Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.
LEGAL AID COUNCIL: WHAT WE DO AND PROBLEMS CONFRONTING US
Following the sustained campaign of the Legal Aid Association and also in reaction to
the obvious need for some form of legal assistance to the indigent masses, Legal Aid council of
Nigeria (the Council) was established with the promulgation of Legal Aid Decree No. 56 of 1976,
now Legal Aid Act, Cap L9, Laws of the Federation 2004 to enhance the Rule of Law through
provision of free Legal representation, assistance and advice and the needy. The council
activities are geared towards reducing to the barest minimum incidents of Human Rights abuse
perpetrated against the citizenry by either the Law enforcement agents or the affluent in the
Under the Legal Aid Act the Council is charged with the responsibility of providing free
legal representation, assistance and advice to indigent citizens whose income does not exceed
N5, 000.00 in both limited criminal and civil matters. Today we have offices in 33 of the 36
states of the federation including FCT, zonal office in six (6) Geo-political zones and the head
office in Abuja. Cases which legal aid may be granted are restricted to the following.
Criminal code Penal code
1. Murder Culpable homicide punishable with death
2. Manslaughter Culpable homicide not punishable with death
3. Maliciously or Wilful
wounding or inflicting
Grievous bodily harm Grievous hurt
4. Assault occasioning actual Criminal force occasioning actual bodily hurt
5. Stealing Theft
6. Affray Affray
7. Rape Rape
8. Aiding and abetting or counselling or procuring the commission of or attempting or conspiring
to commit any of the offences listed above.
9. Civil Claims in respect of accidents.
10. Damages for breach of fundamental Human Right as guaranteed under Chapter IV of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
In addition to the above mediation centres exist in our office across the states, where disputes
on issue such as Landlord/tenant, master/servant, employer/ employee, Husband/wife,
inheritance of family property etc. are entertained and adjudicated, provided parties are willing
to summit to same.
The council equally assist consists of capital offences who are yet to exhaust their right of
appeal by lodging appeals on their behalf or those who had exhausted their right of appeal and
are on death row for upward of 10 years through application for prerogative of mercy to the state
HOW DO WE CASE LOAD
1. Mainly by Prison Visit
2. Family referrals
3. Police Referrals
4. Prison Referrals
5. Referral by courts
6. Referral by private legal Practitioners
7. Referral by concerned citizens
8. Newspaper reports
9. Village head/Community leader referrals
Pursuant to the working relationship between Legal Aid council of Nigerian and Open Society
Justice Initiative (OSJI), a project on Legal Aid and pre-trial Detention Nigeria was mooted.
The goal of this project is to drastically reduce the number of pre-trail delaines in prisons and
As a result of this project, e concept of Practice Direction and Police Duty solicitors Scheme was
initiated, with the main objective of preserving legitimate individual liberty, rights and freedom.
METHOD OF OPERATING LEGL AID SCHEME
The 3 traditional methods of operating the scheme are:
1. Salaried lawyers system
2. Judi care system
3. The use of NYSC Lawyers
Under the salaried lawyer system the scheme is operated by lawyers employed and paid by
the council in all states of the Federation. These lawyers handle the bulk of the Council
cases. Presently we have an average of 2 salaried Lawyers per state. These Lawyers
equally serve as coordinators of polite duty solicitor scheme in the existing pilot states.
The Judi care system involve the use of private Legal Practitioner who are registered
with the council and are desirous of accepting legal aid briefs on payment of a token fee on
completion of cases assigned to them. Some of these private Legal practitioners are
magnanimous enough to handle legal aid cases pro bono.
National Youth Corps Lawyers appear and represent Legal Aid Client in court during
their service year. They equally at as Duty solicitors in state where police Duty solicitor scheme
Perhaps the greatest operational difficulty facing Legal Aid Council of Nigeria is its
inability to provide succour for people whose complaints boarder on areas not within our
statutory mandate or people who live in remote areas where they do not have access to Legal
Aid Services or those who are not aware of Legal Aid services.
The problem areas are:-
1. Inadequate funding resulting in
(a) Inadequate manpower
(b) Inadequate operational vehicles
(c) Inadequate citizen sensitization
(d) Lack of adequate local presence
(e) Inadequate personnel capacity building/training
(f) Inadequate operational equipments/ logistics
(g) Poor personnel working conditions
(h) Inability to attend to cases falling outside the Council’s mandate especially armed
robbery which constitutes the bulk of the infamous “Holden charges” and greater
percentage of awaiting trial inmates and “Cultism” now prevalent in the Niger Delta.
2. Lack of Police co-operation and assistance to Legal Aid Lawyers
3. Stringent bail conditions.
Solutions to the above problem will improve service delivery of Legal Aid Council, which shall in
turn improve the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.
Thank you for listening.
“ACCESS TO JUSTICE TO NIERIAN AND NON NIGERIAN CITIZENS RESIDENT IN
- A PAPER PRESENTED BY THE DIRECTOR CITIZENS RIGHTS ANS MEDIATION
CENTRE ENUGU. BARR. MRS SCHOLA O. OFFIAH, IN A “JUSTIC SECTOR
STAKEHOLDERS FORUM” TO MARK THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF
LEAL AID COUNCIL OF NIGERIAN (CACON) ON 14TH - 15TH OF NOVEMBER 2007 AT
First and foremost, I must express my profound gratitude to the Security Justice and Growth
programme for giving me an opportunity an privilege; I am must honoured.
Enugu State citizens rights and mediation centre was conceived in 2004 by the Enugu State
Justice Reform Team (ENSRT) which us a justice delivery outfit developed by security justice
and growth programme. The membership of this ESTJRT is drawn from all the stakeholders in
justice delivery system of the state. A very powerful body whose membership is drawn from the
judiciary, the national human right commission, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Ministry of Justice,
Police, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Prisons, Non Governmental Organizations like PRAWA
(Prison Rehabilitation an Welfare Action).
In the year 2005 this concept metamorphosized into Citizens right and mediation centre with the
full support of the then Attorney general of Enugu State (the current governor of Enugu State)
who made all the ideas and the dream he has about the centre materialize, by giving it the
desired inertia – the enabling law known as Enugu State Citizens Rights and Mediation centre
law, cap 45 laws ikf Enugu State 205.
Then in august 2005 the centre was established and the inauguration ceremony was witness by
the eleven European August visitors to Enugu State in 2005.
You cannot talk about Enugu C.R.M.C without mentioning the D.F.I.D under its security justice
and growth programme. They built and furnished the centre to the tune of (N18, 000,000.00)
Eighteen Million naira and had to provide initial running cost of N2, 000,000.00 (two million naira
only). The state government by way of counterpart finding provided the needed manpower, and
pays staff salaries regularly.
2. Aim / Objectives of the centre
2.1 The main aim of the centre is to provide quality legal services to the indigent members of the
society who cannot easily afford such services because of their physical, psychological and
financial disability. One cannot be denied justice because he is poor or indigent. So the centre
provides access to justice particularly to the less privileges, the vulnerable group, the disabled,
the oppressed and to “all”.
2.2 Decongestion of the Courts, Prisons and Police cells
One of the ideas behind creating the centre is to help in quick dispensation of justice and hence
help to decongest the courts, prisons and police cells. This is one of the major advantages of
alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method of resolving conflicts and we in the centre have
taken the bull by the horn.
3. Scope of the centre
Citizen rights and mediation centre as the name depicts, has two main units the human rights
protection and legal aid unit (HURPLAU) and the ceitzens mediation unit (CMU) while the
HURPLAU deals with Human Right abuse cases ad offering of legal aid services to the indigent
(Public defender). The CMU deals with mediation proper as a way of resolving dispute distinct
In other worlds the centre has the mandate to deal with both civil, quasi-criminal, and criminal
cases in the HURPLAU section by way of legal representations, defence and advice, while the
CMU deals or mediates only over civil matters as provided by the enabling law.
3.1 types of cases that are handled by the centre under ‘HURPLAU’
Legal representations in civil, quasi criminal, criminal cases, human right abuse and violation
cases example wrongful detention by the police etc. legal representations in courts, offering of
quality legal advice. All services are free of charge.
3.2 Types of cases handled under CMU
Sec 5(a)(i) 0 (iv) of the enabling law
“The centre mediates on disputes reported to it in respect of:0
a) i. Landlord and tenant matters
ii. Contracts of employment
iii. Family matters
iv. Debt related matters
v. Any other matters as the centre may deem fit to deal with”.
3.3 Jurisdiction of the centre
According to section 14
(2) “The subject matter of any mediation must be that in which courts of the state have in
(3) “The centre shall receive complaints directly from affected persons or through referrals from
(4) “The centre may refer matters brought before it to other appropriate agencies or NGO’s”.
4. The governing council
The centre has an eight-man governing council drawn from the major stake holders in justice
delivery system in Enugu State. This include the judiciary, the (NBA) Nigerian Bar Association,
Legal Aid Council, Ministry of Justice, International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA)
Executive Council and an NGO that provides legal aid,. The governing council – prescribe the
policy guidelines for the centre. – Acts as a body to which the director reports.
- Approves the budget for the centre
- Oversees the activities of the centre generally
- Council has the power to delegate any of its functions to the director to carry out –
employment of senior staff for the centre is done by the council.
- And such other functions that may be deemed necessary for the interest of the centre.
- As part of the counterpart funding, the state government pays allowance regularly to these
5. People who can benefit from the centre – (Nigerian and Non -Nigeirans)
People who reside in Enugu State, irrespective of sex, tribe, religion or ethnic group. At
least one of the parties must reside within Enugu State for the centre to assume jurisdiction
once parties submit to mediation, the centre help them to resolve their cases amicably. The
people whose rights are being abuse come here to seek redress, get legal representation
and advice. We also offer advisory services free of charge to those who need legal advice.
The office also acts as a public complaint office. Basically the centre is a non-profit making
organization that renders all services free of charge.
Relationship with CSO, NGO’s and Traditional Palace , Courts
The enabling law cap 45 of the Laws of Enugu state 2005 among other thing provided a
forum where people can come and perfect their terms of settlement and it becomes,
enforceable like any other court judgment.
We have a good working relationship with NGO’s like FIDA (International Federal of women
lawyer, WACOL (Women Aid Collective) RAWA, Legal Aid Council, CSO’s like the
traditional ruler who send their subjects to us for settlement of disputes. We also receive as
well as send cases to these CSO and NGO’s as referrals where the justice of the case
Fortunately we are one of a few in the whole country that is created by law and this is a big
6. Successes made so far / constraints
The citizens and residents are overwhelmed at the creation of the centre and have been
storming the centre, and this has created more jobs than we ever anticipated, putting great
pressure on the few manpower and resources. We are equally excited and taking the
challenge with great joy, hoping that help will come from all and sundry in no distant time, to
match up with the aspirations of the people. We need to build up pilot offices in all the three
senatorial areas and if possible have desk offices in key local government areas of the state,
thereby bringing justice to the door steps of everybody. For justice is for all and should not
In the year 2006 total of 174 mediations and 260 enquires and legal advice cases were
recorded despite our meagre resources and manpower. Form January 2006 till date 11th
November 2007 we record about 185 cases and about 380 enquires and legal advice
hopping to get more then 200 case before the end of the year. The increase is not much
because of our financial constraints, lack of publicity and creation of awareness, mobility
and international funding. By early next year the second legal unit, that would deal with
human right protection cases will be launched or inaugurated HUPRLAU, when we must
have recruited and co-opted about thirty lawyers from the private sector to match up with the
Enugu State Citizens’ Right and Mediation Centre has come to stay. Recently the centre
has developed 5 units
- The Human Right Protection Unit (HURPLAU),
- The citizens Mediation Unit (CMU);
- The laison,press and library Unit (LPLU);
- The Administration and Personnel Unit (APU)
- The Accounts and Internal Audit Unit (AIAU)
All hands has to be on desk to move this centre forward. We are suing this medium to seek for
manpower and resources to put thse ideas in place; we are using this golden opportunity also
to stretch out our hands to all and sundry top assist in pushing this centre to achieved its
desired goal which is to provide greater access to justice to all and sundry free of charge.
Barr. Mrs. Schola O. Offiah
Director, Citizens’ Right and Mediation Centre