KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Nelson Olanipekun

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Policy / decision-makers
Practitioners
Civic Tech initiatives

KEY CATEGORIES

Legal advocacy
Accountability
Campaigns
Lobbying
Transparency

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

Using technology to accelerate Justice in Nigeria

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

NAME

EMAIL

WEBSITE

Gavel

N/A

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

Live

Nigeria

2018

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

Citizens’ Gavel is a civic tech organization aimed at improving the pace of justice delivery through the use of technology. It was founded in response to legal problems in Nigeria. It was established as Open Justice by Nelson Olanipekun, from an incubation program of Civic Hive; the incubation and media arm of BudgIT.

The objectives of Citizens’ Gavel is to use technology in accelerating justice delivery within the legal framework of Nigeria. This they do by linking those who cannot afford legal counsel to pro bono lawyers. Also, they aim at using technology to digitise the activities of the court for public use to make a transparent judicial system in Nigeria.

Another objective of the organization is advocating for the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act/Law.

This open data initiative acts as intel for proper coordination and preparation for judicial trial as well analysis of court cases. As a civic tech tool, Gavel promotes accountability, transparency, efficiency and faster justice delivery system.

What was the problem & What was the approach taken to it?

The Problem:

  • Lots of injustice and delays in delivering justice. The Nigerian government confirmed that nearly 70% of inmates in prisons were awaiting trial.
  • Police Brutality
  • There is a lot of obscurities that occurs in Nigerian courts, and there is no transparency in the way the cases are being handled

The Approach:

  • Gavel set up 2 arms to create diversification in their approach. These arms are JusticeLab and Podus. JusticeLab is focused on addressing systemic issues by responding to issues around weakness in the judicial system of Nigeria especially in areas it affects citizens. Podus, on the other hand, is focused on linking citizens who have suffered or are suffering from security agency brutality to lawyers. Podus is available on Google Play Store and it works like Uber such that victims can log into the app, enter in their issue/case and a lawyer within their vicinity can be alerted to assist them.The philosophy at Gavel is to create a nest to the harbour and build active citizens, taking them through curricula with the capability to initiate, articulate and maintain conversations on demanding effective governance.

Which actors, resources, conditions, tools, etc. were required?

  • Gavel is helping prisons to know the list of suspects to bring to court and is working with the Ministry of Justice to cross-check the number of ongoing trials through the tool – Justice Clock.
LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Gavel was born out of the need to ensure transparency and accountability in the Nigerian justice sector, to tackle police brutality and consequential delay resulting in prison congestion, with unimaginable numbers of inmates awaiting trial
  • By digitizing the case list, lawyers, advocates, family members, and others, can easily access crucial information, while an infographics section on the website helps draw attention to issues facing the criminal justice system in Nigeria
  • There is a need to fuse activism and advocacy, to find common ground amidst the populace and build political will that is sufficient to hold Nigerian leaders accountable
  • Create a network of support group. Gavel has a network of lawyers across 27 Nigerian States
  • Digital technologies are key for wider and greater impact of the work of NGOs
  • Visibility is important for scaling of civic tech initiatives
  • It is important to understand the position and circumstances of the citizens
  • Need to create organisational structures such that people develop trust
RELATED LINKS & DOWNLOADS

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NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.