OPD To Defend 125 Prisoners In Court


The Lagos State Office of Public Defender, OPD, has concluded plans to defend 125  prisoners languishing in various prisons across Lagos State, southwest Nigeria in  court.

The move is part of the 10th anniversary of the outfit established on 24 July, 2000  by the immediate past Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to render free legal defense to  the less privileged.

At a news conference recently, the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General,  Ministry of Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro, disclosed that the OPD would be visiting the  prisons and would take up 125 fresh cases.

He stated that the office had often made regular visits to the Ikoyi, Kirikiri and  Badagry Prisons with a view to providing legal representation to inmates who could  not afford the services of private legal practitioners.

Pedro said that at the request of the OPD, the Nigeria Prison Service occasionally  sent lists of inmates that need immediate legal attention to the office, adding that  these cases were usually assigned to counsel in the office for legal representation  in a bid to decongest the prisons.

He also disclosed that in the last 10 years, the OPD had received 4,860 criminal  cases of which the office was able to get judgment for 1,985 people. These criminal  matters included murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, stealing and malicious damage.

On domestic violence, he disclosed that the office had received over 2,653 cases.

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In the area of children in conflict with the law, Pedro said that “to date, OPD has  received 264 referrals from remand homes and other organisations and resolved 206  cases.  These children are charged with various offences, including murder, armed  robbery, child stealing/kidnapping, among others.”

“From 2000 and 2010, the office received 10,883 civil petitions, out of which 7,597  were successfully resolved.   Out of 4,860 cases instituted in court, 2,306 have  been successfully concluded.

“These civil matters included those cases that bother on wrongful dismissal, breach  of contract, unpaid salaries and entitlements and workers compensation.  Others  include divorce cases, custody/maintenance of children, processing of letters of  administration for clients who lost their bread winners and unable to support  themselves financially,” he added.

The permanent secretary further disclosed that the OPD was able to facilitate the  collection of N63.8 million on behalf of its clients from 2000 till date.

Speaking, the Director, OPD, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, said the grand finale of the 10th  anniversary of the office will hold tomorrow, adding that during the week, remand  homes and prisons were visited while a public lecture/book launch and awareness  campaign were part of the programme.

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