Community Legal Clinics as Vehicles for Promoting Human Rights and Access to Justice in the Niger Delta: Prospects and Foreseeable Challenges

AuthorOdigie-Emmanuel Omoyemen Lucia
Published date01 July 2014
Date01 July 2014
Subject MatterEssays
Military-Madrasa-Mullah Complex 127
India Quarterly, 66, 2 (2010): 133–149
A Global Threat 127
Community Legal Clinics as Vehicles
for Promoting Human Rights and
Access to Justice in the Niger Delta:
Prospects and Foreseeable Challenges
Odigie-Emmanuel Omoyemen Lucia
Human rights will amount to sweet nothings if violations of human rights cannot be redressed. The duty
of ensuring that human rights actually transform lives and not just remain as a rhetoric, or an exercise
in futility, lies with all citizens especially lawyers (including law students) and the courts. It follows that
access to justice, including legal justice, is an imperative to the realization of human rights. Actualization
of redress for human rights is impossible without a mechanism for enforcement usually commenced
by an action in court. Citizens must be aware that they have rights which the state is obliged to
respect, protect and fulfil and also have the means, both financial and otherwise, to seek redress and be
accorded with a fair hearing in the courts of law. Human rights and justice mean nothing to a man who
is too poor to afford a lawyer or to afford the costs of filing processes. However, the fate of such a
person can be changed by community legal clinics. This article therefore seeks to explore the prospects
of utilizing community legal clinics as a vehicle for promoting access to justice and identifying possible
challenges. It also makes recommendations to deal with the same.
Human right violations and injustices in Nigeria are founded on social inequalities, abuse of power
and corruption. There are apparent inequalities in power, wealth and privileges in Nigeria. By inequalities,
one would be referring to social distinctions amongst individuals or groups, flowing from a perception
of differences in their positions. The main basis of stratification in Nigeria is economic, social or
political. A person’s class is determined mostly by looking at the person’s wealth. A glaring evidence of
the existence of inequalities is the ability of some people to influence decisions and actions to favour
their own cause, resulting in the domination of the poor who are powerless. Oppression of the poor
is further buttressed by lack of access to goods and services, lack of ownership and control of
property, unequal distribution of authority, human right violations and denial of access to justice. Aguda
opines that
Odigie-Emmanuel Omoyemen Lucia, Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus, Nigeria.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
1(2) 127–134
© 2014 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/2322005814530330

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