Law

NGOs offer free legal service to vulnerable Lagos residents 

Akeem Nafiu

 

The Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre (REPLACE) in partnership with the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC) of the British Council in collaboration with the Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI), NGWUNTA Chambers and Legal Resources Consortium (LRC) have offered free legal assistance to vulnerable persons in Mushin and Oshodi areas of Lagos.

The project tagged: “Improving Access to Legal Advice and Services”, is designed to reach out to vulnerable persons in communities who may be in conflict with the COVID-19 lockdown policies of the government.

The project coordinates volunteers comprising lawyers and paralegals under the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) and other volunteers to assist in meeting those within the communities and or in special detention centres.

Physically and psychologically challenged groups, women, children and Ojowoye market traders within Mushin/Oshodi constituencies benefited from the community sensitization and free legal aid clinic by the Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre, the Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI), NGWUNTA Chambers and Legal Resources Consortium (LRC).

The community sensitization is a continuation of the free legal aid clinic which has been on-going since 1st June, 2020 in Lagos state where vulnerable persons walk in to the legal clinic centres for free legal advice and support.

The Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI), NGWUNTA Chambers and Legal Resources Consortium (LRC) serve as the coordinators of the centre in providing free legal services to the Mushin/Oshodi vulnerable persons.

During the lockdown restriction, there are reported increases in infringements of rights in many communities. It is on this premise that the partners agreed to organise awareness and legal aid clinics in communities around Lagos State.

The awareness/legal aid clinics provide access to legal assistance to indigent and vulnerable persons – women, children and Persons Living with Disability (PLWD) at the community level for free.

Majority of the persons with disabilities lament about the inaccessibility of public houses, commercial vehicles and banning of commercial motor cycles and tricycles in Lagos State without any alternative measures to assist those with disabilities in the state. They expressed their difficulties encountering in daily bases and the effect of not receiving palliatives during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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