Yiaga Africa and the Nigerian Bar Association Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF) are to provide pro bono legal services to young Nigerian adults participating in the electoral process during the forthcoming elections.
The service is also to be extended to other young persons with disabilities who require pro bono legal advice.
A statement on Wednesday, 29 June, 2022, both signed by Executive Director, Yiaga Africa Nigerian Bar Association, Samson Itodo and Chairman, Young Lawyers Forum, Muntasir Adamu read: “As preparations for the 2023 General Elections begin in earnest, Yiaga Africa in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF) have announced a call for young lawyers who are interested in specializing in election law to express their interest to join the Election Law Clinic, which is a cohort of young lawyers who will provide pro bono legal services to young Nigerian adults participating in the electoral process , and other young persons with disabilities who require pro bono legal advice as a way of supporting the electoral aspirations of young Nigerian candidates.”
The statement recalled that a total of 3,193 election petitions were filed in the general elections conducted between 2003 to 2015. In the 2019 general elections, 766 petitions were filed which brings the total number of petitions filed to date to 3,959, adding that Section 133(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 clearly states that participation in an election is the condition precedent to presenting an election petition by candidates and political parties.
According to the statement, the Election Law Clinic, which is part of the ‘Turn Up Democracy’ project that is being funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented by Yiaga Africa, is designed to train the next generation of lawyers who are interested in specializing in Election Law, deepen the understanding of women and youth aspirants and candidates on the new electoral legal framework and provide legal advisory services and support to young and women candidates. The E-Law Clinic is driven by a specially designed module informed by both the challenges identified by young men and women who contested in previous elections and the trends in election litigation.
The statement revealed that young lawyers who participate in the Clinic will receive virtual and physical training on the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 using a carefully developed curriculum. The Clinic will also provide opportunities for young lawyers to attend national, regional, and state meetings that bring together lawyers, politicians, members of political parties, other stakeholders in the electoral sector and development partners.