Ubani urges attention to public interest litigation


By Sandra Umeh
Lagos, May 12, 2022 Mr Monday Ubani, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), wants more attention given to public interest litigation, to promote development.

Ubani told newsmen on Thursday in Lagos that SPIDEL as a section of the NBA had strived to undertake a number of public interest cases for the good of the society.

He said that one of the major challenges facing the dispensation of the section’s duty was insistence by some courts on “locus standi” (competence) of an applicant in a public interest suit.

According to him, this ought not to be, especially as the Supreme Court has widened the gap in respect of who can initiate a public interest case.

“Some of the times, you find that the courts are very conservative in some of their approaches to public interest cases even when the Supreme Court has widened the gap in terms of who can bring an action.

“Despite this, some lower courts stick to their approach of using “locus” in denying applicants the opportunity of being heard, but we will continue to pursue sustice to the apex court where the need arises.

“Aside this, funding has also been a major challenge to the section, and as we know, funding is key in ensuring that all are properly done.

“We don’t get this fund from some of our partners,” he said.

He added that the 2022 conference of the section, scheduled to hold from May 22 in Sokoto, would be one of the avenues where matters of public interest will be discussed.

“We are doing our best as a public interest section to raise the required consciousness, and we hope to continue in this light,” he said.

Ubani urged all lawyers and other stakeholders to make themselves available for the SPIDEL conference so as to join voices in promoting development law and public interest litigation.