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29.01.2009 Social News

Poverty preventing aggrieved from seeking legal aid


Mr Godwin Kpoble, Volta Regional Director of the Legal Aid Board (LAB) on Monday observed that poverty, and to some extent ignorance, were preventing aggrieved people from taking advantage of the services of the Board in seeking legal remedies to their grievances.

He said a lot of the aggrieved simply did not have the money to pay for commuting between their various towns and villages and the regional capitals, where they could avail themselves of the free services of the Board.

Mr Kpoble was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Ho.

He said the geographical spread of the LAB's clients in the Volta Region, for example, indicated that those who sought the help of the Board came from in and around Ho.

Mr Kpoble said a few came from the far northern and southern districts of the region, but soon stopped pursuing their cases because of lack of funds.

He said the Board needed to do some more publicity on its mandate to bring justice to the poor.

Mr Kpoble observed that several clients usually sought the help of the Board whenever its activities were publicized only for their enthusiasm to wane with time.

He said the Board with the support of the National Service Secretariat (NSS), was appointing service personnel as “Intake Officers” in the districts, to build up interest in the poor to seek legal counselling from the Board.

Mr Kpoble appealed to the district assemblies to create desks for the Board at their offices.

He said a total of 121 cases were listed for handling in 2008 as against 176 in 2007.

The cases listed under traditional and non-traditional sections, included disputes on inheritance, succession, estate, maintenance and other family related matters.

Mr Kpoble observed that many people preferred to sleep over their rights, especially in marital and family issues, than be mentioned as having brought their relatives or spouses before the law.

He said it also appeared that people were more conversant with the work of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DVVSU) of the Police Service than the Board.