President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) with officials of Justice Research Institute, JRI, (a not-for-profit organization that undertakes research based and developmental initiatives within the justice sector including capacity building and establishing systems that promote access to justice.)
The NBA and JRI, by the signing of the MoU, intends to deepen, advance and institutionalize Pro bono practice within the legal profession across Nigeria by establishing a system that leverages private sector resources to help increase access to legal resources for more disadvantaged individuals and groups.
In his remarks, the President of the NBA noted that, his administration has for the past one-and-a-half years pursued very aggressive Public Interest engagements.
“We have developed engagement in a lot of MoUs with a number of partners, for instance, the National Human Rights Commission, the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, MacArthur Foundation, the Office of the President on Sustainable Development Goals, the Bar Council of U.K., and a number of other partners. Some of these deals with training for some of our members, some deal with services to the Public, Pro Bono services which is part of what we are looking at under this MoU and in what pertains to promotion of Human Rights across the country.”
He added that; “We have had a lot of interventions, specifically two areas of the country, the North East Task Force and the Niger Delta Task Force This is not to say that our Public Interest activities are limited to those areas. “We are interested in anything that has to do with access to justice, anything that has to do with Human Rights protection, anything that has to do with provision of Pro Bono services because we do recognize that there is serious demand for these services.
He encouraged lawyers across the country to show interest and show commitment to various services to members of the public. “We see this as important strategy for reinstating confidence in the legal profession.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of Justice Research Institute said the main objective of the partnership with NBA is to seek legal protection of rights where there is violation.
“We are working with Open Initiative of West Africa to look at the areas of this demand where indigent members of the society can benefit. We recognize that it is good for the image of the profession to see that lawyers are empathetic with the plight of the less-privileged in the society.”
The Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was jointly signed by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and the Executive Director of Justice Research Institute.