In 2000, precisely July 24, the then administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu created Office of the Public Defender (OPD) principally to serve as a catalyst for the less privileged who may be denied justice due to their inability to pay for services of lawyers.
During a vox-pop conducted by AP News over what OPD is all about among residents in Lagos, it was discovered that many people living in the Megacity have little or no idea of the existence, functions and responsibilities of Office of the Public Defender.
Our findings revealed that OPD handle so many cases, all kinds of cases for free, irrespective of the residents ethnic nationality. There are many people who have been charged with all sorts of criminal matters and cannot represent themselves in courts, so the courts make referrals to OPD, Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) do make referrals. Even the Police and Correctional Centres make referrals to OPD to assist and represent accused persons in court.
It was also found out that OPD handles civil matters such as cases of people who wrongly dismissed from their employments and want to make claims from their employers. It handle cases on matrimonial issues, file divorce cases on behalf of battered women or settled rift between couples amicably in some cases.
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