“Lawyers Without Borders” Equips Nigeria Lawyers with Skills on Capital Defence
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
Avocats Sans Frontières France otherwise known as Lawyers Without Borders France (ASF France), said it has built the capacity of some lawyers in Nigeria defending cases of capital offences with adequate skill to hand persons facing death penalty.
ASF France Nigeria Head of Office, Mrs. Angela Uwandu, disclosed this in the statement made available to Journalists in Kaduna on Wednesday.
She said “the training was aimed to equip trainees with specific skills to adequately represent persons facing the death penalty in Nigeria.”
According to her, the two-day training which held in Lagos, in partnership with the Cornell Centre on the Death Penalty Worldwide, New York, had in attendant, 17 lawyers drawn from Edo, Enugu, FCT, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos states.
“It was a unique opportunity to disseminate the specialized training designed for the Makwanyane Institute for capital defence lawyers by the Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide at Cornell University, New York, USA and to foster relationship amongst lawyers representing persons facing the death penalty in Nigeria. It was also an opportunity to mark this year’s, World Day Against Death Penalty, in Nigeria,” she outlined.
“ASF France targeted lawyers who are committed to representing persons charged with crimes punished by death sentence and priority was given to lawyers who represent or desire to represent women facing capital punishment in Nigeria.” Mrs. Uwendu added.
The statement further said that some trainees shared their testimonies at the end of the training.
According to the statement, Kemi Naiyeju-Oloyede, a trainee from Lagos, said “I thank the organizers and all the sponsors, Avocats Sans Frontières, for improving on my legal practice, the training is very impactful. I can’t wait to help a lot of convicted clients and those awaiting trials to get proper legal aid with my added knowledge of modern techniques of legal aid introduced by this training especially the mitigation and more exposure on intellectual disability, mental health as a good tool of defence to protect the rights of my clients.”
On his part, Emmanuel Ejim, from Kano also testified that, “I join in appreciating the trainers for their insightful, innovative and cosmopolitan ideas. It was indeed a rewarding moment and opportunity to be a part of this rare program. It has enriched and exposed and expanded our intellect.”
The training was funded by the Australian High Commission, the French Embassy, the Embassy of Belgium in Nigeria, Alliance Française Lagos/Mike Adenuga Centre and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, New York.
ASF France reiterates its commitment to enhancing access to justice for persons facing the death penalty, as well as totally proscribing the death penalty in Nigeria to conform with international best practices.