ABUJA – (OSSAP-SDGs Report) – The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) has donated two buses to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to facilitate and promote access to justice by the indigent and vulnerable groups in Nigeria.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire who donated the buses to the Nigerian Bar Association on behalf of the Federal Government lately in Abuja said that the gesture was borne out of government’s determination to accelerate and promote access to justice by the less privileged and vulnerable groups in the country.
She noted that her office has recorded a lot of milestones in the implementation of SDGs which had been globally commended, adding that it was in pursuance of the achievement of the 17 goals, particularly SDG 16 that the OSSAP-SDGs collaborated with the NBA. The SSAP-SDGs recalled that the issue of human rights concerns is subsumed in the social, economic and political goals, particularly Goal 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development as well as provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Adefulire stressed that some of the targets under Goal 16 seek to significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere and end human rights abuses, exploitation, human trafficking and all forms of violence against women and torture of children. She further explained that it was in the realization of the need to bridge inequality gap, ensure social justice and provide a platform for seeking justice by the vulnerable and less privileged that her Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the 19th of October 2017. Adding, the aim among other things was to reduce the spate of conflicts and violence in the society as well as put Nigeria on the path of sustainable good governance for the overall wellbeing of its citizens.
She reaffirmed the Office’s commitment to equal access to justice, particularly to the groups that are prone to vulnerability and those at the fringes of social and economic exclusion. She later stressed that the OSSAP-SDGs is giving its full support to the NBA to render pro bono services nationwide.
In his response to the presentation, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmood (SAN) who received the buses on behalf of the association said that his organization’s partnership with the OSSAP-SDGs was borne out of its commitment and sheer passion to the development of Nigeria in all its ramifications. He indicated that the NBA is passionate about building strong institutions and upholding issues relating to Goal 16 of the SDGs.
He maintained that the NBA has a wide reach, being the largest profession in the country with about 125 branches and 160,000 members across the country. He inferred that over the years it has provided free legal services to the less privileged, who could not afford legal fees. He also disclosed that the NBA has provided assistance to the ongoing reconstruction of the North-East Region which has been ravaged by insurgency as well as humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons in the region.
Abubakar Mahmood informed that in no distant time, the NBA will launch an endowment fund to assist its members who are physically challenged as well as lawyers who are victims of assault in the course of discharging their professional responsibilities.
While assuring that the NBA will continue to promote and protect the principles of the rule of law and respect for enforcement of human rights of the citizenry, he promised that the logistic supports given to the association by OSSAP-SDGs would be judiciously utilized.