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Commission Assures Kogites Of Direct Access To Justice

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The people of kogi state have been assured of continued and direct access to justice, especially the indigents, vulnerable, poor and the less privileged, who cannot afford the services of a legal practitioner.

The Director-General, Kogi State Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission (PDCRC), has urged relevant stakeholders in the administration of justice to
prevent violent extremism and protect enforcement of fundamental human rights in the state.

The Director-General of PDCRC, Barr. Abdullahi Zakari,gave the assurance in Lokoja on Wednesday at the ongoing a two-day training for Lawyers, Law
Enforcement Officers and Social Welfare Workers.
The Kogi State News gathered that the event was orgsnised by Kogi PDCRC in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria.

Zakari noted that the theme of the training, ”Providing Enabling Environment For The Prevention Of Violent Extremism And The Role of Public Defender’, was aimed at strengthening, promote, protect and enforce
human rights in the state.

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He called on the participants to ensure promotion and protection of human rights, and work toward protecting the people’s rights, especially the indigents, less privilege, disabilities and the vulnerable in the state,
Zakari said the establishment of PDCRC was an eloquent and strong commitment on the part of Gov. Yahaya Bello to see that the ordinary citizens of this
state have access to justice, through proper legal representation.

Zakari said the commission had so far made some modest achievements in its existence such as prison decongestion, massive awareness campaigns through
visit to critical stakeholders in the administration of justice sector among others.

He, however, emphasised the need for all hands to be on deck and for the people to do the right things at the right time.

Contributing, the state Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Sanni Muhammed,SAN, said that the was among the first set of states that enacted Administration of Criminal
Justice Law, for speedy dispensation of criminal justice in the state.

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He noted that as a fall out of the ENDSARS Protests, the was the first to establish a Human Rights Special
Intervention Group (HRSIG), under PDCRC, to receive and rapidly resolve complaints bordering of brutality by
law enforcement agencies.

Muhammed, who was represented by Mrs Hawa Yusufu, the State’s Solicitor- General and Permanent Secretary, Kogi Ministry of Justice, emphasised that
Kogi had done a lot in strengthening the enforcement of human rights law.

The commissioner expressed the continued
commitment of the state government to scale up the capacity of human resources, particularly the lawyers
and other relevant stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice sector.

Mr Anicetus Atakpu, the Resilience Programme Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria, commended state government for the establishment of PDCRC, aimed at
promoting, protecting and enforcing human rights in the state.

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He stressed that ActionAid was happy with the steps Kogi Government had taken,so far, in ensuring enforcement of human rights, hence the need to partner with PDCRC to train the relevant stakeholders in the sector.

According to Atakpu, no fewer than 60 participants are participating in the seminar which comprised of Lawyers, selected from PDCRC, Legal Aid Council,
MoJ, NBA, Magistrates; Police, DSS, NSCDC, officials of Correctional Centre, among others.

Atakpu assured that ActionAid would continue to support and encourage PDCRC to strengthening the enforcement of fundamental human rights in the state.
One of participants, Ajuma Lilian Okolo, who is the Chairperson of FIDA in Kogi, commended the PDCRC and ActionAid for the partnership, saying that the synergy would go a long way to impacting positively on the life of the people, especially the underserved.

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Joseph Adelabu

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