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Law clinics and access to justice for pretrial detainees in Nigeria

Taiye Joshua Omidoyin
Omolade Oniyinde


The underlying principle behind legal aid is that fair trial and justice should not depend on how much money a litigant has in his pocket or how much money he can throw around, but should be a right of all and for all. This is the right to access to justice. Unfortunately however, this right appears to be a mirage in Nigeria where majority of the populace live below the poverty line, and the poor see justice as the birthright of the rich. The situation is worse for a pretrial detainee who cannot afford the service of a lawyer and he sees himself as being unfortunate for his financial predicament. In fact, the provisions on fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution would be meaningless wordings to a pretrial detainee. This research therefore revealed that law clinics of various universities in Nigeria are stakeholders in the human rights and justice reform sector. Law clinics have relevant roles to play to ensure pretrial detainees have adequate access to justice at no cost. Hence the research recommended that the activities of the law clinic should be supported by relevant stakeholders to achieve the dream of justice for all.

Keywords: human rights; law clinic; pretrial detainee, legal aid