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Blasphemy: Abduljabbar Not Eligible For Pro Bono Service — Legal Aid Council

The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria categorically stated in Kano on Thursday that the Cleric, Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara, who is standing trial over alleged blasphemy is not qualified to be represented by a lawyer from the Council.

It should be recalled that on May 12, the presiding judge ordered the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria Headquarters to provide legal representation for the cleric in the ongoing trial over alleged blasphemy against the defendant.

On the court’s resumed sitting on Thursday for continuation of defence, the Kano State Coordinator, Legal Aid Council, Barrister Mukhtar Labaran Usman, told the court that he attended the proceeding in compliance with the court order issued on the last adjourned date.

He said, “We wrote a letter to the court in respect of the order, dated May 23, that the council is constrained in handling the case.

“The council is a Federal Government Parastatal, established by Section 1(1) of Legal Aid Act 2011.”

Furthermore, Labaran-Usman said, the council shall only be granted to a person, whose income does not exceed the N30, 000 minimum wage per month.

“The defendant’s income exceeded the national minimum wage and the offence to which he is arraigned is blasphemy.

“Blasphemy is not listed in the council act to enable it represent the defendant,” he added.

When the court contacted Sheikh Abduljabbar to hear his own response on the submission of the Legal Aid Council, he told the court that he is not a civil servant and wondered how the LACON knew that he earns more than N30, 000 minimum wage.

He prayed the court not to allow the Attorney-General of Kano to provide a lawyer for him, adding that he made some allegations against the state government, as well as stressing that he doesn’t need the Kano State Government to provide a lawyer for him, insisting that Kano state Government is an interested party.

“I don’t believe in lawyers anymore, my former three sets of lawyers betrayed me, especially the first team,” the cleric said.

The prosecution counsel, Yakubu Abdullahi, did not object to the letter written by the LACON and urged the court to order the Attorney-General of Kano State to provide a legal representation for the defendant.

Section 389 and 349(5) ACJL 2019 says the Attorney General has the right to get a legal representation for the defendant.

After listening to both parties, the presiding Judge, Malam Ibrahim Sarki Yola, ordered Barrister Dalhatu Shehu Usman to represent the defendant and consequently adjourned the case until June 9, for continuation of defence.

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