A Social Democracy Party (SDP) Presidential Aspirant, Prince Adewale Adebayo, says access to justice was paramount to peace and development of Nigeria.
Adebayo, at a meeting with the delegates of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HIIL) in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the country needed help in ensuring that there was justice for all.
Adebayo said that if it pleased God and the Nigerians to give him the mandate to govern the country, he would work to make Nigeria the most just country in the world.
“The ingredients of doing justice starts from those who have access to state authority knowing that it is an agency and you are doing this work for the people.
“My measurement of how a country is doing is what happened to the ordinary people.
“There is a need to give people a new thought regarding justice.
“We need help in our access to justice not because we do not have the best lawyers but because the lowest people in my society do not have access to justice.
“At a point they were beginning to loss a sense of entitlement to justice, they created a different mentality for themselves that this people and their legal system and court system is not for us.
“Even we who believe in it sometimes spent 20 years in court litigating two paragraphs in an agreement. We spent 15 years determining whether someone is innocent or not. So it is not working for us.
“Our country will always know peace and be on the path of development when justice is available,” he said.
Adebayo, who described justice as an ideal, said it was the responsibility of everybody to promote justice the way they fought for safe environment.
“The way we fight for cleaner ecosystem should be the way we fight for justice for everyone.”
Adebayo, who as a practicing lawyer for over 20 years, said he made several efforts to contribute to promoting justice in the society, including setting up a department dedicated to seek justice for people who could not afford legal charges.
He, however, said that in spite of the effort, his firm discovered that some of the persons who needed the free legal services refused to patronise them because they thought it was not real, hence the firm devoted chunk of its income to ensure that the department service the people.”
Nigeria Country Representative, Ijeoma Nwafor who led the team said the outcome of her research so far exposed the weakness of justice served in Nigeria.
The Founding Director of HIIL, Dr Samuel Muller, said that they came to the conclusion that the 5.1 billion people in the world did not have adequate access to Justice.
“A little over 1 billion people do not have a resolution for a civil administrative or criminal case that they have.That is an eighth per cent of the population.
“When you look at our data, generally people who have Justice problems only about 30 per cent of them get resolution, two-thirds are still walking around with the problem.”