Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has urged citizens of the state to take advantage of the free services of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.

Governor Akeredolu, who gave the advice during a courtesy visit by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, in Akure, said there were lots of people suffering because they do not have the means to engage the services of an advocate.

“We should have the offices in local government areas where it will be easily accessible to the people.

“The offices can be a reference point manned by a lawyer who is a corps member. He or she will be given some orientation for immediate advice and documentation, which will be sent to the headquarters if it deserves further attention.

“It is important because our people cannot always come to the headquarters, yet they need legal aid everyday,” he said.

Earlier, the state coordinator of the Council, Mrs Kubiat Ikpidungise, had  described the governor’s election as a unique opportunity to lift Ondo State to a position of reckoning in national development.

She said the Legal Aid Council is an independent body, empowered by law and charged with the responsibilities of providing free legal advice and representation to indigent Nigerians whose income do not exceed the minimum wage and as such cannot afford the services of private legal practitioners.

The coordinator used the opportunity of the visit to appeal to the state government for the provision of a functional vehicle to be able to access parts of the state and equally requested assistance to be able to renovate its two offices in Akure and Owo.

“As strong believer in the cause of the masses, it is our hope that you will lend the support of your highly esteemed office to the operation of Legal Aid Scheme in Ondo State”, she said.

The Council, which has thirty-six offices in the states of the federation and one in Abuja, is funded by the federal, state and local government.

The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, was once a board chairman of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.

Top government functionaries present during the visit are: the Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi; Secretary to the State Government ,SSG;  Hon Ifedayo Abegunde;  Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale;  Head of Service, Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr Akindele Adedapo and Chief of Protocol to the Governor, Mr Tosin Ogunbodede.

Other members of the Nigerian Legal Aid Council at the visit are: Head, Legal Aid Centre, Owo, Abdurahman Yusuf; Senior Legal Aid Officer, Toyin Asake;  Duty Solicitors for Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Sedi Momodu and Loveth Abah; Administrative Officer, Servicom, Kayode Olodo and the Council’s Administrative Officer, Fimihan Akogun.