Office of Public Defenders harps on free legal services for indigent persons
The director, Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Olubunkola Salami, has said the state government is resolved to ensure that all residents in Lagos, have access to justice irrespective of their financial strength.
She said OPD is a body established by the government to render free legal services in criminal and civil cases to indigents and vulnerable residents of the State.
The director also said OPD will emphasise on issues threatening the socio-economic rights of the poor as well as other disadvantaged group such as children and women.
Salami stated this during a campaign tour in Badagry to create awareness on ‘Free Lawyer for Lagosians’. She said the essence of the campaign is to create awareness on government’s effort to eliminate all forms of criminality that undermine the citizens’ rights and privilege.
“The essence of this campaign in the ancient town of Badagry, is to create awareness on the accessibility of OPD’s office in Badagry where the citizens can access justice when their right and privileges are trampled upon.
“It is to also create awareness on the effort of the government of Gov. Akinwumni Ambode to bring free legal assistance to the grassroots and the fact that OPD will also continue to attends to all residents in Badagry irrespective of whether poor or oppressed, physically challenged, pensioners, widows and others that cannot afford the service of a legal practitioners.
“OPD ensure high quality legal representation to clients through excellence and demonstration of compassion, loyalty, commitment and professionalism, irrespective of the opposing party. It has also made available provisions for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), in settling cases for those with complaints but did not want to go to court,” Salami said.
Speaking on how OPD handles and interfere in family matters, the OPD director said, it does so through a “Social Service Department” team that are vested with the responsibility to investigate and interfere in family or domestic matters for the purpose of peaceful resolution.