The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has trained 28 paralegal officers in Ekiti State.
FIDA stated that the development is part of the efforts to empower women and spread the mission against perpetrators of rape, domestic violence and other Gender Based Violence related cases.
The body charged the officers to be diligent and observant in tackling the menaces of sexual assaults , domestic violence and other ways through which women’s rights were being abraded in the state.
The Chairperson of FIDA, Ekiti chapter, Barrister Oyinade Olatunbosun, unveiled the paralegals in Oye Ekiti, on Thursday, during a training programme geared towards partnering the goverment in stepping up the war against GBV in Ekiti.
Olatunbosun, while addressing the participants, drawn from Oye and Ilupeju Ekiti, stated that the project sponsored by Nigeria Women Trust Funds, with the theme : “Training and establishment of Paralegals”, would expose the trainees to community counselling and conflict resolution mechanism.
The FIDA boss revealed that the programme was conceptualized by FIDA to raise the bar of awareness about the GBV and spread the advocacy against all forms of ills against womenfolk in the state.
“The 28 participants from Oye and Ilupeju-Ekiti have been trained as paralegals to handle cases relating to the rights of the women. What we are doing is to partner the State government to rid Ekiti of GBV and promote women empowerment.
“No society can grow when the rights of the citizens are being unnecessarily trampled upon. So, the paralegals must ensure that every case of GBV brought to their notice is handled dispassionately, and without fear or favour.
“Most importantly, they shouldn’t allow any case relating to sexual assault to be swept under the carpet. They should allow the right authority handle it for justice to be served”.
The FIDA’s Programme Officer, Barrister Catherine Oduluyi and a facilitator, Barrister Bolanle Scholastica Ojo, in their presentations , charged the officers to be transparent and principled in the discharge of their duties.
They described their roles in the society as purely professional and non-partisan, warning that they shouldn’t deploy their influences to fight perceived enemies or complicate marital issues.
Delivering her lecture on ‘Conflict Resolution and Counselling’, a Law lecturer at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti; Ifedapo Osadola, said there was need for the paralegals to be honest and open in handling all cases.
Osadola urged them to apply the right skills and know their limitations in respect to the law of the land while handling cases brought to their notice.
The participants were lectured in seven thematic areas like: The Notion of Paralegals, Gender and Sexual Based Violence, Law and System, Conflict Resolution and Counselling, among others, while they also displayed their conflict management skills to ascertain their competences based on the training acquired.
The FIDA boss also presented Certificates of Participation to the trainees to authenticate the assumption of their new status.