From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami has given assurance that the Federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari would not rent in providing free access to justice in the country and better the life of the down trodden Nigerians.

Malami disclosed this while speaking at the opening ceremony of a- two -day retreat with the theme “Repositioning Legal Aid Council for better service delivery in Lokoja, the state capital on Friday.

The Minister stated that the retreat is coming at a time when the country needs to ensure that every Nigerian has unhindered access to justice.

He explained that the Legal Aid Council has a lot of roles to play and as such needs to be well repositioned for the task ahead.

The Attorney General of Federation added that one of the services that could be provided to the people is the unhindered access to justice of which legal Aid Council stand for.

“As you are aware, the council was established 1976 with promulgation of Legal Aid Decree No. 56 with the mandate to handle criminal matters .With passage of time and upsurge of civil matters, the act was repealed in 2011 wherein the mandate of the Council was expanded to cover both criminal and civil matters .This has in no small measure enable the council to cover substantial ground in the administration of Justice in the country”, the Attorney General said.

Earlier in his address, the Director General, Legal Aid Council, Abubakar Aliyu explained that Legal Aid Council has a long history spanning over 40 years of service to the indigent Nigerians, stressing that the place of the council in the administration of justice cannot be over emphasized.

“Together with other key stakeholders such as the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Correctional Service and with support of our parent Ministry, we have been able to achieve some level of success in the discharge of our mandate as contained in enabling Act,” he stressed.

Also speaking, the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasiru Ajanah commended the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria for their role in administration of justice Kogi state.

Justice Ajanah noted that the Council had always be part of Correctional Centres decongestion exercise, saying that judiciary will continue to partner with Legal Aid Council.

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