Nigeria, how far? Inches closer to paralegal recognition in Nigeria

On October 7th - 8th 2019, the very first National Paralegal Summit was held in Abuja, Nigeria. This summit with the theme #justiceforall was a product of the collaboration between the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative.

During this 2 day summit , paralegals used the platform to showcase their work , share their experiences and highlight their relevance to the justice system. Lessons learnt in Kenya and Sierra Leone on their respective paths to paralegal recognition provided a platform for self-reflection on Nigeria’s own journey and what the future held for Nigerian paralegals.

In Nigeria, paralegals are provided some formal recognition under Nigeria’s Legal Aid Act of 2011. Paralegals operate mostly in civil matters. Click here to find out the extent to which paralegal work is recognised and financed in Nigeria.

A great outcome of this 2 day event was: 1) An agreed code of ethics for paralegals and 2) Minimum standards for curriculum development.

The Legal Aid Council ( LACON), through the Director General , Aliyu Bagudu, committed to issue operational licenses to recognized paralegal organizations in the Country. LACON is also in the process of providing the necessary platform for effective paralegal training, monitoring and utilization so as to make justice more accessible to Nigerians. More information here.

This summit is a good example of state- non-state actor collaboration in making #justiceforall a reality.

The Abuja Meet and Greet for Network members took place on the 7th of October with older members highlighting how the Global Legal Empowerment Network has added value to their work and new members signing up with energy , passion and commitment. The Naija presence is already being felt on this platform ! :slight_smile:

On a lighter note, what is a visit to Nigeria without trying some Jollof rice ! These portions show you just how generous Nigerians are ! You do well.

We look forward to a robust and passionate engagement from our Nigerian big brothers :slight_smile: .

@fatimaadamu @andrewmaki @Yibis @bagudu @LindaReuben @Duning @Hafal @Ajanigo @Christiejohn @nurudeenishiola @IfeoluwaFaith @hassanalazarus @Hundusaaku

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Dear @AimeeOngeso , Thank you for sharing the Nigerian efforts here and it was a pleasure having you with us and our brother @sonkitaconteh whose presence we all felt through his passionate story and strong voice that filled the room. Now that you have decided to share a photo of our famous Jollof rice , we do not want our Ghanian siblings getting worked up:grinning::smiley: and others salivating, @michaelotto and @tobiaseigen are welcomed to join us next time.
welcome team Nija @bagudu On a more serious note, its been a journey of many years for us in Nigeria and especially those of us @IsaWali Empowerment Initiative. We appreciate on those that have remained steadfast on this journey as we continue to work towards #justiceforall. Welcome team Nija @bagudu @Ajanigo @DennisEkwere @LindaReuben et all.

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An accepted code of ethics, national curriculum standards, and a commitment to license paralegal organizations are all big steps, although I am not that surprised given the strength and passion of the organizers of the event. :blush::woman_superhero: ::woman_teacher:t5: :muscle:t5:

I would be curious to hear how the network member meet and greet compared to the recent one in Nairobi too…

Congratulations, and looking forward to hearing more positive developments from Nigeria in the coming weeks and months!!

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@michaelotto Welcome back from your holiday. Hope Bebe and Meme and doing great? @AimeeOngeso please share as I can’t say much about the Kenyan one.

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Hi Michael, the Abuja and Nairobi meet and greet experiences were different.

  1. For Nairobi, the meet and greet was the main event and specifically targeted network members while in Abuja, thanks to @fatimaadamu we managed to integrate the meet and greet as part of the programme.

  2. Whereas there were network members, new members who signed up were a significant number and they were drawn from participants from the national paralegal summit. A good amount of time was spent on older members highlighting how the Global Legal Empowerment Network has added value to their work and thereafter the signing up of new members .

  3. For Nairobi ( again because it was the main event ) there was a programme for the meet and greet and the informal discussions after. In Abuja, due to time constraints, the interaction was limited.

4 Overall for Abuja, I think it was successful because we managed to create awareness and a good number of new members signed up. I strongly suggest that the next meet and greet in Abuja be the main event in which members get to interact about their work in a more informal set up and focus on the Global Legal Empowerment network.

@fatimaadamu- these are my observations, what do you think?

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It is a good one, but what is not in line is the issuance of the operational license to be issuing to recognized paralegal organizations. It should be those organizations who are legitimately registered with the corporate affairs commission Nigeria CAC that should be issuing license or certificate to the individually trained members. Issuing licenses is not the mandate of the legal aid council of Nigeria. Therefore they should stop encroaching functions of other departments of government.

Thank you.

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@Mubula the legal Aid council Act of Nigeria 2011 section 17c actually empowers them to issue Licenses to trained paralegals and certificate to Legal aid providing organizations. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, it is the only law that has clearly mentioned paralegals in the country and most recently the Administration of criminal Justice Law of Kano state 2019 that was also explicit on CSO members with knowledge of the law during statement taking by police officers in criminal procedures. Kindly share references that I may not be aware of which could be useful. Thank you

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Apt @AimeeOngeso your observations are taken on board. Probably Lagos, Kano, Portharcourt for the next one.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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You know I will say Lagos:)

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I am impressed how much is done in Nigeria. I am interested to know more about your activity. Warm greetings from Canada. Alexandar

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Hello everyone, Is the English official language in Nigeria? I think the Canadian society must be informed about these sacred efforts for justice. I see you are doing a great job. Please stay in touch. Thank you, Alexandar

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Hi Alexandar, it is really encouraging to see your interest in legal empowerment initiatives on this platform. Yes, English is the official language. For more about Nigerian initiatives I will keep you in touch with my sister @fatimaadamu.

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Hello @APAVLOV, thank you for your interest in Nigeria and our work.

Yes English is our Official Language, please go ahead and share the story with everyone that can add value to the work that we do.

@AimeeOngeso :love_you_gesture:

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Good morning. Thank you for your response. Can we talk by Skype about your projects?

Truly yours,

Alex

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@APAVLOV sure, it will be a pleasure. Please choose a date and time that would be ok by you. I’ll share my Skype details via direct message or you can share yours , which ever works for you. Thank you

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Another alternative might be for you to join us for the community call, just announced at RSVP now to join upcoming community call! Hope you can make it! :seedling:

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Hello Tobias, Thank you very much for your message, I will mark my calendar for 21 November. There is so much going on and I like that you are working for a cause. Truly yours, Alexandar

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Great! @fatimaadamu and I will look forward to seeing you on the 21st.

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