Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Musa Abdullahi Lawan, has revealed that the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria has indicated interest to provide legal representation for Abdulmalik Tanko and his co-defendants in the murder case of the five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar.
The AG told Daily Trust on Thursday that this was sequel to the order made by Justice Usman Na’abba of Kano State High Court on February 5 that the state should provide counsel for Tanko and two other defendants sequel to their prayer, seeking to have a legal representation.
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Lawan said that any person who is standing trial on the allegations of culpable homicide, is expected to have a legal representation and if that person does not have a lawyer and is not capable of providing a lawyer, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria compels the State to provide one.
He explained that the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria is a Federal Government establishment with the primary mandate of providing free legal services to any Nigerian who doesn’t have a lawyer in a culpable homicide case which is punishable with a death sentence.
“Our legal team are ever ready to prosecute Abdulmalik and two other dependants, we have overwhelming evidence against them, but we can not go on. If we tried and secured a conviction against them without their lawyer, certainly the judgement will be null and void if it goes to appeal,” he said.
He hinted that it is not only about the state but individual rights to have a legal representation in a culpable homicide case.
Tanko and two others were charged with the alleged kidnap and murder of Hanifa and the case had been stalled due to lack of legal representation at the last sitting.
The trial judge, after making the order for representation, thereafter adjourned the case to February 14.