By Stephen Adeleye
The Kogi State Office of the 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, made the call the on Wednesday in Lokoja, at a two-day training for Lawyers, Law Enforcement Officers and Social Welfare Workers, 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 to strengthen’ promote, protect and enforce human rights in Kogi.
He enjoined the participants to ensure promotion and protection of human rights, and work towards protecting the people especially the indigents, less privilege, disabilities and the vulnerable in the state,
The director general assured that the good people of Kogi would continue to have direct access to justice especially the indigents, vulnerable, poor and the less privilege, who cannot afford the services of a lawyer.
Zakari stressed that the establishment of Kogi PDCRC was a 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 in the short span of its existence, had made some modest achievements, such as prison decongestion, massive awareness campaigns through visit to critical stakeholders in the administration of justice sector, among others.
He added that it was a continuous process and emphasised the need for all hands to be on deck to do the right things at the right time.
Also speaking, the Kogi State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Sanni Muhammed SAN, said the State Government was committed to ensuring that citizens have access to justice especially the less privilege.
He said that Kogi was among the first set of States that enacted Administration of Criminal Justice Law, for speedy dispensation of criminal justice in the state.
‘He added that the establishment of Kogi PDCRC was a further demonstration of the state government to the value of access to justice, particularly for the less privilege.
He noted that as a fall out of the ENDSARS Protests Kogi was the first State 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 laws in the state.
He assured that Kogi Government would continue to work hard to scale up the capacity of human resource, particularly the lawyers and other relevant stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice sector.
On his part, Mr Anicetus Atakpu, the Resilience Programme Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria, commended Kogi State Government for the establishment of PDCRC, aimed at promoting, protecting and enforcing human rights in the state.
He stressed that ActionAid was happy with the steps Kogi Government had taken 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 Kogi PDCRC to strengthening the enforcement of fundamental human rights in the state.
One of participants, Ajuma Lilian Okolo, the Chairperson of FIDA in Kogi, commended the PDCRC and ActionAid for the partnership, saying it would go a long way to impacting the lives of the people especially the underserved.