In fulfillment of its mandate aimed at promoting the enjoyment of Human Rights in Nigeria, Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), in collaboration with its local partners, the Nigerian Bar Association held its third Legal Aid Coordination Meeting. The meeting was organized under the European Union and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) funded, “Strengthening the National Actors Capacities and Advocation for Ending Severe Human Rights Violations in Nigeria project” (SAFE) project which is targeted at addressing human rights violations of torture, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detention.
The legal aid coordination meeting took place on the 13th of April 2022. The one-day meeting provided yet another opportunity for the project support lawyers to provide updates on the status of legal aid delivery in their respective states as regards the third year of the project. It also provided the opportunity for the support lawyers to engage in experience sharing and exchange learning based on the cases being handled i.e. provision of free legal assistance on the SAFE project to victims of torture, family members of victims of extra judicial killings and arbitrary detentions.
In attendance at the meeting were; the SAFE project support lawyers, nominated NBA pro-bono lawyers, the NBA SAFE project focal person, and representative of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. The Country Director of ASF France, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu highlighted the importance of the engagement saying “the legal aid coordination meeting is a very important avenue for us to re-evaluate our pro-bono legal aid processes and learn from each other towards improving the effectiveness of the legal aid component of the SAFE project”. The support lawyers all delivered presentations as regards legal aid delivery in the third year of the SAFE project in their respective states. Recommendations were made to tackle the challenges highlighted by the support lawyers during their presentations. So far, the project has provided free legal services to 120 victims of human rights violations relating to torture, arbitrary detention or extra judicial killings.
The legal aid coordination meeting rounded off with deliberations aimed at improving results of the legal aid delivery component of the project. During the deliberations, Aïssatou Kumagangue, Project Officer at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) commended the support lawyers saying “I am immensely proud of the pro-bono legal aid delivery of this project, thank you for the silent but impactful work of you lawyers, please keep it up”. Esmé Stuart, the Programme Manager Human Rights and Gender, European Union (EU) also highlighted the importance of the legal aid component of the project saying “the legal aid component of this project helps to consolidate the outcomes of the entire project, we have to keep up the good work to ensure that we bring justice to where it is underserved.”
The SAFE project is implemented by Avocats Sans Frontières France in partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association and the Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organization.
ASF France aims to sustain the impact of the situation room by virtually convening more frequently to monitor and review the implementation of the strategies adopted.
Signed: Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, Country Director, ASF France Nigeria
For further enquiries please contact:
ASF France Communication Officer, Nigeria