The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators says it is desirable for every state in Nigeria to have, at least, one mediation centre in order to promote greater community harmony.
It says this has become important in order to discourage resort to self-help among aggrieved citizens and douse tension in the face of growing clashes at the community level.
This advocacy was championed by the ICMC Registrar, Mr. Segun Ogunyannwo, on the sideline of the special induction ceremony of new mediators who went through the ICMC’s 100th Mediation Skills and Accreditation and Certification Course.
About 50 mediators were inducted, most of them staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice during the ceremony which held in Lagos last weekend.
Ogunyannwo said, “About seven states have mediation centres. We need such structures for promoting peace. When people have conflicts and know there’s a place they can go to, that somebody will listen to them and assist them to be reconciled, it has a tendency to douse tension, to prevent people from resorting to self-help or taking the law into their hands.
“This will ultimately help in promoting peaceful and harmonious co-existence in the society. So, states that do not already have such centres are encouraged to immediately put such in place.”
In his address, the ICMC President, Dr. Louis Ogbeifun, observed that international commerce was moving at a pace that demanded the creation of an alternative means of resolving business disputes other than the regulars courts that were already overburdened.
According to him, embracing mediation will lead to a reduction in the volume of civil cases that go to the regular courts, it will also save time usually wasted in the regular court due to adjournments and apart from reaching a resolution whereby both parties are satisfied, mediation encourages foreign investments.
He said, “All over the world, courts of law are overloaded and overburdened. Invariably, there is delay, usually considerable, in the resolution of disputes. Court procedure is very formal, technical and inflexible. This greatly reduces the ability of litigants to participate directly in the resolution of their grievances. Indeed, the present legal practice of litigation leaves parties exhausted, embittered and often impoverished.
“The world of international commerce is moving at a pace that demands our justice system succumbing to change to find relevance in today’s border-less village. Alternatives that will supplement litigation must, therefore, be sought as a matter of urgency.”