By Dayo Benson
As part of efforts to further deepen the roots of the nation’s democracy and bring justice closer to the less priviledged, Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS, has resolved to test the provisions of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution in law court.
Preparatory to this, the institute has launched a pro bono on-line law clinic which would render free legal services to indigent Nigerians whose legal and constitutional rights are trampled on. Also, it would ensure that cases taken up are followed up to their logical conclusion by legal experts with specialties in different areas of law.
NIALS Director-General, Professor Epiphany Azinge SAN, made this known at the University of Lagos, Office of the institute, during the launching of its online pro bono law clinic.
Specifically, he revealed that a book titled “Justiciability and Constitutionalism: An Economic Analysis of Law” had been written by the institute to advance the socio economic rights of Nigerians, “and where possible test the justiciability of Chapter 2 of the Constitution”.
Prof. Azinge noted that as Nigeria’s apex legal think thank for formulation of policies in law and related disciplines, the institute has remained an academic centre of excellence and a veritable reservoir of information and human resources for legal research and capacity building.
He said that is why the event “is epochal in the life of the institute as we launch a service that will benefit Nigerians who suffer injustice and grieve in ignorance because they cannot gain access to legal advice or aid. We will be launching our own free online law clinic and this service will be provided under the pro bono unit of the institute”.
Speaking further, he added “The Law Clinic portal can be assessed via our website www.nials-nigeria.org . ,the portal in addition will contain Eye witness reports, Blogs and Testimonials. As the apex legal institution, also pursuant to section 4 of the NIALS Act, our law clinic being the first of its kind, not only in Nigeria but also in Africa, will serve as a research centre to promote Clinical Legal Education in Nigeria.
He noted that the initiative was the institute’s way of giving back to the society in form of social responsibility saying “ NIALS is equipped with over 60 research fellows, many of which were decorated with master’s degrees in different areas of expertise not to mention our in house professors who have gained mastery in many areas of law and practice. We have what it takes to help less priviledged Nigerians by providing them with quality legal advise, appropriate referrals and if possible free legal services”.