By Onozure Dania
AS part of efforts to further develop the justice sector in the country, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Conference of Western Attorneys-General (CWAG) has organised capacity-building training aimed at enhancing oral advocacy of legal practitioners.
The three-day training which held in Abuja in conjunction with the African Alliance Partnership (APP) was also targeted at exposing legal practitioners in the country to administration of justice system from other parts of the globe.
Speaking at the occasion, CWAG Coordinator, Ebelechukwu Enedah, stated that the training which was basically a forum for the cross fertilization of ideas among legal practitioners from different parts of the world, would impact positively on justice delivery in Nigeria.
She said,“The training is aimed at preparing our lawyers for oral advocacy, this is very important because businesses have gone trans-border, we are no longer contained in Nigeria, so we cannot say we are only in Nigeria. And the same way businesses have gone outside Nigeria, dispute has gone beyond Nigeria, crime has gone beyond Nigeria, so we need to share ideas with other states and other jurisdictions so that we are able to do what we are doing and do it very well.”
Also speaking, assistant attorney-general, office of the Attorney-General of Arizona State, United States of America, Scott Blake who gave a lecture on “Objections”, commended the organisers of the workshop, and noted that it afforded him the opportunity to see how things were done in Nigeria.
He said the desire to make the court system more effective led Attorneys-General in the West to enter into partnership that would enable legal practitioners from different jurisdictions share and exchange information and ideas on best practices.
He expressed confidence that after the training, there would be a definite difference in the way participants prepare for and handle their trials, adding that the initiative would impact positively on justice delivery in Nigeria.
Participants on their part said the workshop would help in tackling the issue of undue delay in justice delivery. “There are a lot of things we have learnt here that have not been in full practice in the country before and we hope to translate them in the speedy dispensation of justice.
“We have seen the method of dispensation of justice, particularly criminal justice in the US,their method is very fast and much more effective, so with the training we have acquired here, we hope to translate it into assisting the court and all ministers in the temple of justice,” said Abdullahi Yakubu from the Zaria branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The training covered areas such as preparation for trials, presentation of evidence, direct and cross examination, general overview of trial amongst others.
Papers presented covered General Principles of Oral Trials’, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Plea Bargaining, The Oral Trial, Open Statements, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, Closing Arguments, Conclusion of Trial.