Headforth Foundation Offers Hope To Nigerian Inmates

Headforth Foundation Offers Hope To Nigerian Inmates

A Nigerian charity is lending a helping hand to inmates in Nigeria, especially to educate members of the public on their rights and conduct before the law.

Oluyemi Orija, Headforth Foundation Executive Director, who made this known during the organization’s third-anniversary celebration in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, said the organization has assisted 273 inmates to regain freedom through its pro bono services.

“Today, we have helped 273 people out of prisons for free, and we are currently handling more than 300 cases in different courts across Nigeria,” she added.

“We have a mobile office on a project called Lawyers Without Borders, and we have an office at Ebute Meta in Lagos,” Orija said.

According to her, a stand of lawyers without borders has been placed in some designated court premises to offer free legal representation to indigent inmates.

Orija added that sometimes magistrates, registers, and warders referred some cases to the organization.

The executive director said the foundation provided free and easy access to justice for indigent inmates.

“It means we render free legal representation to them. A lot of them are poor people,” she said, noting that some are illiterates who do not even know what they are being charged with, nor understand the Nigerian justice system.

“We are pro bono lawyers, free lawyers, lawyers that provide free legal services,” Orija said.

She said the foundation’s “My Right, My Freedom” campaign was aimed at educating members of the public on their rights and conduct before the law.

“We have realized that a lot of these people do not know what their rights are,” she added.

“Some people have signed statements at police stations that they did not write, and they do not know the contents. They do not know anything about it, ” said Orija.

The executive director said the law enforcement agents had probably written the statements for them and they just appended their signatures.

“In some cases in the court, some people plead guilty to offenses that they did not commit, because a police officer advised them to do so,” she said.

She said the foundation was taking the campaign to all local government areas in the country to educate Nigerians on their fundamental rights and also inform them of the avenues to report infringements on their rights.

Orija said that funding and bureaucratic bottlenecks remained major challenges to the organization’s assistance to indigent inmates trying to get freedom.

According to her, the attitudes of some people also posed a hindrance.

“They think that because you are offering a free legal service, you must have money,” Orija said

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