CFM’s Legal Aid
Society can be brutal in any nation when those with money carry the day. This applies to most nations today, when those who can hire the “best” lawyers get their way in court. It’s almost impossible for the poor to get a voice. We live in a “moneyocracy” where money buys election campaigns and laws passed through parliament.
The scriptures constantly highlight this as of major importance to the heart of God. The law of Moses, as well as all the prophets, and Jesus himself, all majored on the duty of the strong to serve the weak rather than their own business interests.
CFM has noticed the number of people in prison without representation, who languish for years without having the money for their day in court. We set up a legal aid office in our city, headed by Barrister Abdul Haruna, the former deputy director of the government’s legal division of our state. Barrister works along side another lawyer in our department called Barrister Mrs Itodo. Together, they speak in churches and mosques about many matters to build a more just society, and they work alongside prisons, and government agencies in the state to seek out and serve those most in need.
CFM’s mission stations also find many people in need of representation, whose lives have been thrown into havoc because they have accepted faith in Christ. Or sometimes its people who have been thrown out of their homes by wealthy people riding roughshod over the law, or single mothers who have been treated with absolute cruelty and left destitute. There are also serious domestic violence issues that need intervention.
Three cases CFM legal aid are working on now include a mother whose house and everything she owns was taken from her after her husband died. Another person was thrown out of their meagre shop by a wealthy man and all his goods were destroyed. Another lady is standing up to a man who divorced her and is leaving her with nothing. A recent case includes the boy who was arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the wealthier people walked away without question. This boy was cleared. Without representation, a person like this may never see the light of day for the rest of their life.
CFM tries first to settle cases through mediation between the parties. This is by far the preferred way, both in the culture here and in the scripture. It brings far better resolutions between parties and between other close relationships and wider communities. Barrister Abdul is a trained mediator, it is one of his main specialties in law. But if this doesn’t work out, and the weak party needs protection, CFM will go to court to settle the matter, and pay the costs of doing so. Barrister Abdul is highly experienced (with some 40 years at this profession), and Barrister Mrs Itodo is also a strong advocate, and together they know their way around the courts to get the help and results they need for those they are serving.
We thank the Lord for this department and for our two barristers. Thank you to those who support and pray for CFM. Every day, it is touching the lives of those who don’t have representation. Think of the difference this makes in their lives.
Today, we visited the legal aid office just as Mrs Itodo was returning from the court. They had tried mediation to settle a case where the husband had left the marriage, refused a divorce, remarried, was demanding the children, and was refusing to help support. He also refused mediation through our legal aid team. The court issued the divorce, granted the mother the children, and ordered the former husband to pay their school fees. We are thankful.