Lawyers have launched a bid offering legal aid and counselling for people forced out of homes by Boko Haram insurgency and living in camps for displaced people.
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Borno state and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees launched the “Legal Protection for IDPs” in Maiduguri to enable lawyers contribute to protecting internally displaced people.
Baba Kaka, chairman of NBA in Borno, said, “Since IDPs in Borno in particular and the Northeast in general are facing a myriad of legal challenges, lawyers too could come to their aid in this respect.”
“We were challenged mainly by the fact that we saw doctors rendering medical assistance, psychologists providing psycho-social services and counselling to trauma victims, and engineers drilling boreholes and building shelters for IDPs in the camps.”
Under the project, individual lawyers will be assigned tasks to help IDPs sort through court litigations, police cases, family legal issues such as divorce, inheritance, next of kin, and permanent address for IDPs in case of serving them court injunction, Kaka explained.
Obstacles and rights
But the project will need cooperation from government, police and the judiciary to surmount obstacles, he added.
Borno’s justice ministry says its directorate for citizens’ rights will assist successful execution of “Legal Protection for IDPs”.
The bid is also pushing for Sharia Court judges to speedily try cases involving IDPs and registrars to ensure full registration to aid their identification and humanitarian response.
The UNHCR said it expects changes in the “next few months.’
“We are working so hard to ensure that humanitarian actors render the appropriate services, and also to identify gaps within the different service provisions we have,” said UNHCR protection officer Miiro Rehema, an expert in sexual and gender-based violence.
“The gaps could be that people are not really receiving the required assistance, or knowing who to go to for the necessary assistance.
“It could also be that the assistance is there, but the IDPs do not know how to get it. So, we are looking at how best we can cover these gaps,” Miiro said.
If you are happy to be contacted by a Daily Trust journalist please leave a telephone
number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will
be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state
otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures,
video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others,
take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the
terms and conditions.