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FG unveils court duty solicitor scheme

By Deborah Onyofufeke

The Federal Government Monday unveiled the Court Duty Solicitors Scheme (CDSS) in Abuja.

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The ACJMC Herald, an official newsletter was also launched at the ceremony which was attended by legal stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations

Giving his opening remarks at the unveiling cere NY, the Executive Secretary of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC), Mr Sulayman Dawodu said the scheme was established by virbyon 469 of ACJA 2015 to ensure the speedy trial of criminal cases, decongestion of prisons, decongestion of criminal cases in courts and other activities vital to the dispensation of criminal justice in Nigeria.

According to him, the One-off legal representation that the scheme would be offering was against the backdrop of a huge gap noticed in the dispensation of justice and need to the overcome the challenges.

Dawodu added that: “Presently, Abuja as a model State is having 20 Police Divisional/ Four Court duties lawyers in focus for a start and it would be replicated in other States of the Federation,”

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He spoke further that the law presumes a suspect innocent until proven otherwise by a competent court, that hence detainees should be treated as human beings and given needs before or after conviction.

On the newly launched newsletter, he said it was billed to ensure effective, up-to-date dissemination of information in the criminal justice system and the activities of ACJMC as a whole

Also speaking at the launching, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court,  Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf pledged the court support for the scheme, saying it was not only apt but had also been seen in other jurisdictions.

Represented by Justice Aliyu Shaffer, he noted further: “We are pleased to partner with ACJMC so that the duty solicitor can carry out their functions in the most effective way,”

In a short speech, a representative of the Legal Aid Council (Lacon) Mr Ogar Ogbanyi hailed the scheme, noting that it would complement the Probono service that the council is noted for many years now.

Corroborating LALaconthe Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),  Mr Tony Ojukwu commended the ACJMC for setting up the scheme ids glaring challenges plaguing the justice system.

Represented by Mrs Rabi Auwal, he thereafter expressed the commission’s readiness to help in actualising ACJMC set objectives and effective implementation.

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