By Stephen Adeleye.
The Kogi State Government Office of the Public Defender and Citizen’s Right Commission (PDCRC), has organised a two-day training workshop on capacity building for stakeholders in the area of access to justice and human rights and Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2026.
In his opening remarks on Friday in Lokoja, the Director General, Kogi PDCRC, Barr. Abdullahi Zakari, said the essence of the training was to build stakeholders’ capacity and develop Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2026 as Standing Order and Rules of Procedure for PDCRC.
According to Zakari, the stakeholders will produce documents that define the future of the Commission for the next four years and Standing Orders and Rules of procedure to guide and regulate the operations of the Commission.
He added that the goal was to strengthen the Commission to deliver on its mandates and to enable the stakeholders take ownership of the document for ease of implementation of the plans.
He noted that the documents were also required to position the commission to have a global flavour to attract international best practices and possible interventions.
He commended His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, for all that he has done toward ensuring that the Commission performs its functions optimally and efficiently, without any interference
Zakari also appreciated the Hon. Attorney General and State’s Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Ibrahim Sanni Mohammed SAN, for his commitment to ensuring that the Commission get all the needed support and encouragement. He said that the Hon Attorney is zealously nursing the growth of Commission in all fronts.
He disclosed that the commission had between 2020 and 2021, handled 25 cases in High Court, out of which 12 cases had been successfully concluded to inmates who are indigent and who could not afford the service a Lawyer free of charge.
Zakari added that the Commission had also received 12 cases in 2022 which were presently at various stages of conclusion across the three senatorial districts of the state.
He, therefore urged the participants to be dispassionate in their participation and be committed as much as possible in order to achieve the desired goals.
The DG further called on the general public to report any act of violations relating to human rights or domestic violence to the commission’s office at the state’s Secretariat.
On his part, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Mohammed SAN, said Kogi PDCRC was a product of justice sector reforms and was established in 2019, through the instrumentality of law.
According to Mohammed, PDCRC is an agency of Kogi State Government with the mandate to render free legal services in criminal and civil cases to the indigent and vulnerable residents of the state.
Represented by Mr Badama Kadiri, the Director Public Prosecution, Kogi Ministry of Justice, Mohammed said PDCRC was also saddled with responsibility of ensuring the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights at the state level.
He commended the Governor for making all the necessary provisions to ensure that the commission performed its functions efficiently and independently.
The Attorney General stressed that the training workshop further demonstrated the Governor’s commitment to have a formidable and efficient institution repositioned to deliver on its core mandates in ensuring access to justice for the indigent and vulnerable, and protection of human rights of Kogi residents.
He commended the PDCRC for doing exceedingly well in delivering its mandates, which according to him, is viable for all to see.
He assured that the government would continue to give the necessary support to the commission to enhance its success, and wished the participants a fruitful deliberations.
Also speaking, the Chairman, PDCRC Governing Council: Muizideen Abdullahi Esq., said a healthy justice sector was key to the development of any nation.
He, therefore congratulated the participants for being part of history, and appealed to them to give their maximum cooperation and contributions in order to have a fruitful celebrations at the end of the program.