The Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch have entered into a partnership to support FCT residents charged for violating the COVID19 Regulations before the FCT mobile courts.
On the 31st March, 2020, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari issued the COVID19 Regulations restricting movement in the FCT, Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State following the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease in Nigeria and the discovery of a growing number of cases in these 3 locations.
In compliance with the Quarantine Act, the Federal Capital Territory Administration set up Mobile Courts to prosecute violators of this order.
The Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) Nigeria, a non-profit organization committed to promoting legal aid and access to justice in Nigeria has joined the NBA Abuja Branch to provide pro bono legal representation at the mobile courts for indigent residents of the FCT who are unable to afford legal representation.
According to the Chairman of the NBA Abuja Branch, Mr. Folarin Aluko, the partnership will also involve tracking the level of legal representation; use of non-custodial sentencing; diversion from detention; enforcement of fundamental human rights; obedience to rule of law and observance of the provisions of the relevant statutes/ rules by these mobile courts during this lockdown and ultimately ensuring access to justice.
This is in line with the objective of achieving a significant reduction in the size of the pre-trial detention population in the FCT under NULAI’s Reforming Pretrial Detention in Nigeria Project (RPDN).