The component on Provision of Legal and Support Services under the Prison Reform Project has continued to access awaiting trial persons (ATPs) without legal representation in the 3 project target prisons- Kano central prison, Lagos Ikoyi Prison and Enugu maximum security prisons using paralegals to gather the details of the (ATPs) and pro bono lawyers to provide them with the desired legal representation. This is achieved in collaboration with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria whose original mandate it is to provide legal aid / assistance to indigent persons in the country.
OUR IMPACT SO FAR……….
The following are the success stories of the PLSS Component of the Prison Reform Project (PRP) for April, 2017:
In Lagos, the project encountered the case of Olanrewaju Lekan. A case of stealing where the accused had been in custody for like 3 months. The pro bono lawyer handling the case met with the prosecutor and proposed the need to have the matter withdrawn. Both parties deliberated and agreed which prompted the prosecutor to present a letter of withdrawal from the complainant before the court and the matter was withdrawn and discontinued by the magistrate court. The pro bono lawyer got in contact with the cousin of the accused who took him home with an undertaken to the court that the accused will be of good behavior.
Also in Lagos, the project had two defendants discharged in a case of stealing in COP Vs Nurudeen Kareem. Aritsekola Oladayo was remanded in prison for his inability to pay a debt of N 30, 000. A victim offender mediation was held and the complainant willingly withdrew the complaint against him and he was discharged and released from prison.
The project encountered also the unfortunate case of Abiola Jimoh an orphan of 19 years whom 2 stolen phones were given by the woman who stole them to keep for her. Abiola Jimoh was about to be lynched by a mob when a vigilante group intervened and handed him over to the police. He arraigned before a magistrate court in Ebutte-Metta on a 3 count charge of conspiracy, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and stealing. The complainant after much dialogue agreed to withdraw the case. The case was therefore struck out by the court and accused discharged
Rogers Amosu was in custody for almost 5 months for stealing and conspiracy at the place where he worked as a cook. Rogers took a leave from work and the person he got to replace him was on duty when the boss’s jewelries were stolen. The project secured the release of Rogers to go and plan a new life for himself.
In Kano, the case of Isma’ila Ahmed Kawo who had been in detention for 10 years for an alleged offence of Armed Robbery. An application for enforcement of Fundamental Human Right was made to the court on his behalf and it was granted.
Also is the case of Sabi’u Sale who was arrested 7 years ago on the ground that there was a robbery attack in his neighborhood and the victim mentioned that one of the culprits to have tribal marks on his cheeks and since Sabiu Sale also has tribal marks on his cheeks he was arrested and detained for 7 years and being indigent he could not afford the services of a lawyer who would have pushed for his case to go on but with the intervention of the Prison Reform Project he was granted bail on an application made on his behalf.
The project also encountered the case of Abacha Abdulkadir who had a misunderstanding with somebody which led to a fight but upon the intervention of the public the other person he was fighting with alleged that he wanted to rob him. He was taken to a police station later to SARS and eventually to court, he was represented by a lawyer before but because he could not pay the lawyer, the lawyer dropped the case. With the intervention of the project with provided him with a pro bono lawyers he was discharged on no case submission as the prosecution could not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law.