Continuous Legal Education training for 121 pro bono lawyers on Drug Trials in Court

Abuja, 16 November 2020 - The law continues to evolve, so lawyers must continue to learn. It is important for practicing lawyers to ensure that their legal knowledge and skills continue to develop and remain robust and relevant to the evolving jurisprudence and legal practices. Continuous Legal Education (CLE) provides such unique opportunity for the legal community to sharpen their skills and stay abreast of the evolving developments in laws and jurisprudence.

A series of sessions on Continuous Legal Education (CLE) was organized under the aegis of the Legal Advocacy Response to Drugs Initiative (LARDI), a network of pro bono lawyers established in 2018, with the technical support of EU funded and UNODC implemented project “Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria”. The focus of the training was on enhancing litigation skills of pro bono lawyers with the aim of presenting good defense in drug cases in court. Under this initiative, a series of two-day training courses were implemented in 7 batches – in September 2020 for the LARDI members in North and in October 2020 for the LARDI members in South.

The services of renowned and seasoned facilitators from the Bar and the Bench were engaged for this activity. Honourable Justice Egwuatu and Honourable Justice Tijjani Garba of the Federal High Court, Kano and Owerri Divisions respectively, delivered interactive and engaging sessions on “Providing a robust defence for Drug Defendants - Expectations of a Defence Counsel”, and “Sentencing drug convicts- Factors to be considered”. Mr Femi Oloruntoba Esq., an eminent lawyer on drugs cases, educated participants on legal and institutional framework for combating illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, Issues relating to arrests and investigations of drug suspects, and procedures for conducting trials, prosecution and defence in drug cases.

The training generated a lot of interest among the legal community and participants paid glowing tributes to different sessions. Lawal Adedapomola Ganiyu – Kwara said, “The session on providing robust defence for defendants and sentencing guidelines was of great importance to me.” Habib Hassan from Niger State stated, “The CLE training greatly sharpened my skills as a defence counsel to drug arrestees. It has also given me a deeper insight into the prosecutorial jurisdiction and afforded me the technical knowledge of presentation of cases in court”. Ifesinachi Charles Okonji- Asaba, Delta State, said, “Clearly, this was not one of such training that could have been held virtually, considering the technicality and interactive nature of the subject matter and the thoroughness of exposition the subject demanded. Indeed, we are grateful to the UNODC for approving the physical holding of the training with adherence to the COVID-19 safety regulations which member participants complied with”.

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