The Ogun State government has announced the Ogun Public Interest Law Partnership (OPILP) and the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The scheme is a collaboration between the Ogun State government through the Ministry of Justice, the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Bar Association, and the Legal Aid Council Nigeria and would see lawyers attached to every police station in the state. The lawyers under the scheme would be able to visit police stations unannounced to enquire about persons in custody, their well-being and whether said persons require legal representation, the Ministry of Justice, Ogun State said. Sixty police stations are said to have enrolled into the scheme.
Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, made the announcement in a series of tweets stating that “OPILP will link truly indigent clients with free legal services, while the PDSS will attach lawyers to each police station in the state to represent detainees without prior legal representation”.
The scheme is hoped to bring an end to the issue of “trial or no trial which is one of the issues that we have in the courts as one of the things plugging the progress of criminal trials will definitely become a thing of the past ”, Magistrate Olukemi Adebo said.
An ongoing training led by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Akingbolahan Adeniran started on April 8 and was attended by 80 lawyers from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
At least 70 per cent of prisoners held without trial in Nigerian prisons, mostly because of lengthy court proceedings or petty crimes.
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