Abuja — The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bar Human Right Committee of England and Wales on the promotion of Human Rights in the country.
The duo also commenced training programme for legal practitioners particularly in the North-east to enhance their protection of the legal rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the zone.
Declaring the ceremony open yesterday in Abuja, President, Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, (SAN) said the objective of the training was geared primarily to equip members of the association with necessary skills in providing pro-bono services for the nearly two million IDPs in the North-east.
Mahmoud noted that the victims of insurgents has suffered various forms of violations and as such would be in need of legal support, adding that the NBA cannot remain aloof to the situation.
While stating that the gesture is part of the association's quota towards addressing challenges in the area, he however, appealed to religious and community leaders to show moderation in their utterance and work together to deescalate the crisis.
He said the training which is been supported by partners from both within and outside the country is expected to enhanced access to justice by IDPs in the North-east.
He said insurgency has led to the near collapse of justice system in the region, even as human rights violation was not limited to the North-east, adding that many states in the middle belt and south are also affected.
The Chairperson of the Bar Human Right Committee of England and Wales, Kirsty Brimelow (QC), in her goodwill message, said what informed the training was among other things the need to use the law to right the wrongs against the most vulnerable in the North-east.
"We need to stop what the insurgency has done to the most vulnerable in the North-east," she added.
Also speaking, Chairman, NBA Taskforce on the North-east, Professor Muhammad Tabiu (SAN) said justice institution and practitioners were particularly targeted by insurgents with many legal practitioners losing their lives.
He said it was in view of that, that a register was opened for lawyers affected by the conflict and that talks were in progress with the NBA to have trust funds for the victims.
He disclosed further that the taskforce in addition opened another register for missing and disappeared persons.
Prof Tabiu, while stressing that a lot of persons in the North-east are currently in need of legal support, lamented that a lot of lawyers who could have provided this support have either been killed or displaced.
He expressed confidence that the training would impact lawyers in the North-east with the necessary local and international legal framework on human rights protection.
He therefore urged participants to use knowledge acquired from the training to improve conditions of IDPs in the North-east.