Nigerian startup Rimotli Technologies has launched Avocat, an app that aims to make legal services more accessible to all Nigerians.

Avocat, which will also soon be available via a web platform, aims to simplify and demystify access to lawyers and legal services, and ensure Nigerians can protect their human rights by always having legal aid just minutes away.

Chief executive officer (CEO) William Chidube told Disrupt Africa he launched Rimotli in November 2020 having been inspired by the #ENDSARS protests, hoping to help Nigerians avoid rights violations by security forces.

“We built the app to help combat abuse of power by security forces, and also domestic abuse. The idea is quite simply that a victim pushes an emergency button within the app and their location is broadcast to registered lawyers who are close to that area. The lawyers then show up with the sole aim of ensuring that the victim’s rights are protected and the situation is swiftly resolved,” he said.

“Looking closely at how the Nigerian society operates, it isn’t hard to see that legal services and lawyers seem to be reserved for the “rich”. But we think this is not so much a matter of money as it is a matter of exposure, enlightenment, and education.”

Avocat seeks to change this, with the self-funded startup charging a subscription fee to users of the platform. It will focus on Nigeria initially, but Chidube said it does plan to expand into other African countries “as quickly as it makes sense to”.