The President of the Nigerian Bar Association Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, OON, SAN, FCIArb (UK), has said the Workshop for Nigerian Lawyers on the Legal Rights and Protection of Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) in North-East is geared primarily at equipping participants with the tools necessary to aid them in the provision of pro-bono legal services to Internally Displaced Persons in the North East Region.
The NBA President was speaking during his opening remark at the opening ceremony of the 5-day workshop which is holding at the International Training Institute, Maitama Abuja. The Bar Leader who expressed the NBA’s determination in ensuring that incidents of rights violation in Nigeria is curbed noted;
“According to a recent report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are currently nearly 2 internally displaced persons in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States.”
“Many of these victims are women and children who suffered large scale human rights violations and are in need of legal support. In addition, the insurgency has it has led to near collapse of justice sector institutions particularly in in parts of Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States.”
The NBA cannot remain aloof to the situation. To rebuild the justice system and to offer assistance the victims of the insurgency is a major component of the humanitarian intervention that is much needed in the North-East Region.”
“We are therefore determined to contribute the little we can to address these problems. We are grateful that the Bar Council is offering us this support in training our members to be better able to assist the victims of this conflict.”
The President also highlighted the various efforts of the NBA in this regard. “In addition to our work for victim support in conflict areas, the NBA is also involved in trial observations.”
“Only yesterday, a team of our members led by the 1st Vice President of the NBA, Mr. Caleb Dajan, left for New Bussa in Niger State on trial observation mission at the resumed trials of the Boko Haram suspects.”
“We are also currently working with other Civil Society groups with the Support of MacArthur Foundation to develop a transitional justice legal and policy framework for Nigeria learning from the experiences of other African Countries.”
He assured that training of members in this area would be intensified in the coming months and expressed delight over the involvement of the Bar Council of England.
“All of these work require training of our members which we hope to intensify in the coming months. I am delighted that the Bar Council will be partnering with the NBA in equipping our members and sharpening their skills to undertake these major interventions which we are certain will aid the promotion and protection of human rights and access to justice across the country.”
“These trainings will therefore continue and we hope to reach as many of our members as possible. I am happy that the Bar Human Rights Committee of Bar Council is willing to assist us in this regard. Indeed, at the end of this ceremony, as testimony to this, we will be signing an MOU that will commit both the NBA and the Bar Council Human Rights Committee to promote our long term engagements.”
The NBA President also took time to eulogize the active interest shown by Kirsty Brimelow QC in resolving crisis in Nigeria.
“Let me therefore welcome Kirsty Brimelow QC, the Chairperson of the Bar Human Rights Committee and her team to Abuja. I thank you all immensely for your support and interest in promoting human rights protection in Nigeria.”
“ It was only back in April 2017 that I first met Kirsty in her office in London to discuss possible support and collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Kirsty was not new to Nigeria but had visited several times and supported numerous programs in Lagos, Cross-Rivers and other States.”
“Indeed she earned herself a popular Nigerian Yoruba Name Ayo. I am delighted that our collaboration with Bar Human Rights Committee and indeed the Bar Council has deepened. Ayo and her colleagues participated in our Annual General Conference in Lagos in August 2017.”
He also appreciated the support of from the Dangote Foundation which has made it possible for NBA to bring in participants from the North East and indeed from across the country to Abuja as against the earlier plan to host training somewhere in the North East.
The training workshop for 55 lawyers from the North East geo-political zone of Nigeria on the Rights and Protection of Internally Displaced Persons in North-Eastern Nigeria is being organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in collaboration with the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) of England and Wales and sponsored by Dangote Foundation.