I should start by saying how impressed I am with the global legal empowerment network. Also, great to see that Nigerians are a part of it.
Nigeria’s population of 180m plus presents an opportunity for paralegals to scale their impact. The problem though starts with perception - Nigerians are accustomed to ‘wig and gown’ Lawyers, even when they trust paralegals or civil society in the legal space.
It’s great to see that paralegals are accessible to Nigerian communities. However, it’s time for paralegals to use tools communities are already familiar with. Start with say Facebook. Nigerians of all shades use Facebook regularly. This presents a good platform to educate, enlighten and engage with paralegals.
Another is short messaging services. It’s lot easier for paralegals to reach (and be reached) through text messaging.
I can go on but the point is that ‘Uberizing’ access to justice is faster and a lot cheaper. The legal aid system in Nigeria is stretched and many communities lack quality representation and advice in court or tribunals.
Few qualified Lawyers are providing pro bono assistance making the work of justice delivery immensely difficult.
I hope that this very short piece sparks an exchange of ideas to scale paralegals’ work in and outside Nigeria.