The Makwanyane Institute Nigeria Network has volunteered refresher training to 20 legal practitioners on rendering quality legal services to suspects of capital offenses.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the three-day train-the-trainers workshop held on Friday in Abuja was organized for criminal defense lawyers selected from Nigeria and Ghana.
It had “Defending Persons Facing the Death Penalty” as its tag and was organized in partnership with Hope Behind Bars Africa and Centre for Legal Support and Inmate Rehabilitation (CELSIR).
Other partners included 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.
She said capital punishments such as the death penalty, require special skills and knowledge on the part of the legal practitioners.
“When people, who have been charged for these offenses cannot afford adequate legal representation, it becomes a big problem.
“That is why we organized this workshop to enhance the expertise of the legal practitioners to handle cases effectively,” she added.
Mr Mohammed Kassim, Senior Partner, Obour, Minta and Co., Accra and a facilitator at the workshop, opined that defending persons on death row is not an easy task hence the need for continuous training on relevant skills.
Kassim, who took the participants on “Strategic Litigation on Death Penalty, Investigation and Evidence Gathering Techniques”, said that lawyers representing clients facing capital punishments must be encouraged, supported and trained effectively at all times.
Additionally, 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 in spite of many hostilities you may face.
“As a human rights lawyer, it behooves you to maintain composure. You must stay calm.
“You must be professional and respectful even when faced with hostile or uncooperative witnesses; you must avoid arguments or confrontations,” she said.