DEFINING PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYERING AS SPIDEL 2021 CONFAB CLOSES

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Public interest lawyering is a process of legal empowerment aimed at building the capacity of everyday people towards using the law and institutions to bring about social change, while public interest advocacy is performed by organizations that exist primarily to promote the common good that extends beyond the narrow economic or sectarian goals of their members or supporters.

NEWSWIRE Law and Events Magazine’s correspondent in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, reports that the final event of the 2021 conference of the NBA’s Section on Public Interest and Development Law was a double-barreled affair, as it featured its final discussion session (or Showcase Session, as its organizers called it) as well as the formal launch of an app to help in reporting and action against human rights violation and other forms of abuse, with a view to seeking redress.

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The showcase session featured three lead presentations on the following two topics: ‘Capacity-Building and Enhancement of Practice Skills on Public Interest Lawyering – A Continuing Professional Development Perspective,’ and ‘NBA Public Interest Litigation: Committee-Broadening the Strategy for NBA’s Intervention in Public Interest Lawyering.’ Three lead speakers – all of them highly involved in the NBA’s Public Interest efforts – led a star-studded panel in the discussion.

The final event of the day was the launch of the Soro Soke App, a real-time dashboard of human rights and public interest incidences being reported across the country. Soro Soke (which is Yoruba for ‘Speak Up,’) was the battle cry of last year’s End SARS protests across Nigeria.

The online platform, developed by the IT firm Kuantarium in conjunction with the Human Rights Committee of the NBA, is aimed at beaming a powerful searchlight on the culture of impunity that has come to characterize the exercise of power in these parts, and to provide its victims with the means to bring abuses to light.

The brief launching ceremony was performed by the first lady of the Nigerian Bar, Chief (Mrs.) Folake Solanke, SAN, who was ably supported by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, as the 2021 conference of NBA-SPIDEL drew to a close.

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