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Inadequate funding, manpower affecting our activities – Legal Aid Council

Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar, Director General of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, has lamented low funding and manpower for its programmes and activities. He spoke…

Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar, Director General of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, has lamented low funding and manpower for its programmes and activities.

He spoke Thursday in Abuja, during the maiden edition of the Nigerian Human Rights Award 2024 organized by the Call a Lawyer group.

Delivering a paper titled, ‘Providing Pro Bono for those who cannot afford legal representation’, Abubakar lauded lawyers providing pro bono.

He said: “In working towards the actualization of its mandate, the Council faces numerous problems, amongst which are inadequate funding and manpower (minimal numerical staff strength as the magnitude of cases requiring legal aid is huge compared to the number of lawyers in the Legal Aid Council).

“The low participation of experienced private legal practitioners in the legal aid scheme by way of pro bono is also another challenge. This may be attributed to the fact that the Legal Aid Council does not reimburse the expenses as there is presently no fund for it or total lack of interest in pro bono service.

“The role and place of lawyers providing pro bono and thereby complimenting the Legal Aid Council cannot be overemphasized.”

Dr James David Lalu, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), charged lawyers to prioritize the rights of persons with disabilities.

“It is very important for us to join hands together to promote, protect and prioritize the rights of persons with disabilities, as disability is part of our human diversity,” Lalu added.

Other speakers at the conference were Mrs Amina Suzanah Agbeje, CVP/National President, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIFA); Afam Osigwe, SAN, Chairman, NBA Renumeration Committee; ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Police Force; Chief Tony Okechukwu Ojukwu, SAN, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission and Amb. Emmanuel Osadebay, Executive Director, T200 Foundation among others.

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