The Governing Board of the Legal Aid Council has been officially established by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
The Minister who presided over the inauguration in Abuja cautioned the newly appointed members of the Governing Board to display outstanding leadership while carrying out their legal obligations, which include setting the Council’s policy direction and establishing regulations in accordance with Sections 2, 3, and 23 of the Legal Aid Act 2011.
He congratulated the newly appointed Board members and advised them to become familiar with the Council’s enabling Act in order to serve in a productive manner.
The Minister listed some of the council’s acheivments to include:
* The Effective implementation and expansion of the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) by adding some new States like Niger and Bauchi to the earlier pilot states.
* The special visits to Correctional Centres nationwide which only recently has resulted to the release of 101 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre who had been awaiting trial in the past 10 years.
* 2000 inmates nationwide have benefited from the Council’s Jail delivery intervention.
* The Certification of Curriculum for Paralegal Studies in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria as empowered by the enabling Act of the Council.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Mrs Beatrice Jeddy-Egba also congratulated the members of the Governing Board and assured them of the cooperation and assistance of the Federal Ministry of Justice, which is the Supervisory Ministry of the Legal Aid Council.
The newly appointed Governing Board Members of the Legal Aid Council are:
1. Siraj Sae’eda, SAN, (Chairman)
2. Mrs Roseline Tasha
3. Barr. C.U. Ogar
4. DCP Solomon Lough, SAN
5. Barr. Audu Karimu
6. Oluseun Mobolaji Abimbola, SAN, FCIArb
7. Sammie Abiye Somiari, SAN, MCIArb (UK)
8. Hussain Zakariya SAN
9. Adeshina Adegbite FICMC
10. Comrade M. Adamu
11. Ms. Rhoda P. Tyoden (FIDA Ex-Officio)
12. Sulaiman Usman, SAN
13. Oluwole Iyamu SAN
14. Haj. Amina Hanga
15. Mr. Idumu O. Idumu
The new Governing Board has a tenure of three (3) years as stipulated in the Legal Aid Act 2011.
The Legal Aid Council was established by Decree No. 56 of 1976 with the sole responsibility of providing legal assistance and representation to poor and indigent Nigerians.
It has over the years lived up to its mandate by providing the necessary defence that is required as a constitutional requirement in the prosecution of criminal matters on behalf of indigent clients.
In 2004, the Legal Aid Act Cap L9 (LFN) was repealed for the enabling and substantive Legal Aid Act 2011 to expand its jurisdiction.
The present mandate of the Council is now expanded to provide free legal assistance and representation, legal advice and Alternative Dispute Resolution to indigent Nigerians in conflict with the law.