Makwanyane Institute Nigeria Network, has trained no fewer than 21 legal practitioners on quality legal services to capital offenders, on Friday in Abuja.
The three-day train-the-trainers workshop was organised for Criminal Defense Lawyers, selected from Nigeria and Ghana.
The workshop tagged “Defending Persons Facing the Death Penalty” was organised in collaboration with Hope Behind Bars Africa, Centre for Legal Support and Inmate Rehabilitation (CELSIR), The Inclusion Project and Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide.
Mrs Oluwafunke Adeoye, Founder, Hope Behind Bars Africa, said the workshop was aimed at training lawyers to effectively represent their clients facing capital punishments.
According to her, capital punishment, such as the death penalty, requires special skills and knowledge on the part of the legal practitioners, in other to provide quality services to indigent individuals in need of it
“When people who have been charged for these offences cannot afford adequate legal representation, it becomes a big problem.
“That is why we organised this workshop to enhance the expertise of the legal practitioners to handle cases effectively,” she said.
Mr Mohammed Kassim, Senior Partner, Obour, Minta and Co., Accra and a facilitator at the workshop said that defending persons on death row is not an easy task, as such continuous training on relevant skills must be encouraged.
Kassim, who trained the participants on “Strategic Litigation on Death Penalty, Investigation and Evidence Gathering Techniques”, added that lawyers who represent clients facing capital punishments must be encouraged, supported and trained effectively at all times.
Also, Mrs Aladesanmi Olamiposi, Founder and Executive Director, CELSIR, urged the participants to maintain their professional ethics when representing their clients.
“Explore all possible and ethical means to extract testimony from witnesses when establishing your case inspite of many hostilities you may be involved in.
“As a human rights lawyer, it behooves on you to maintain composure, stay calm, professional and respectful, even when faced with hostile or uncooperative witnesses.
“Avoid arguments or confrontations,” she said.