Prof Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the deployment of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms are the panacea for litigations and violent conflicts.
Jega, represented by Dr Louis Ogbeifun, a former ICMC president, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja; while delivering a keynote address at the annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators(ICMC).
1st News reports that ICMC is a professional body of dispute resolution practitioners; primarily responsible for the training of prospective mediators in Nigeria.
Jega who spoke on the theme of the conference: “Dialogue, Mediation, and Conciliation: A Panacea For Managing Polarized Societies,” noted that “Nigeria is a relatively polarized and intensely litigious society.
“Resolution of disputes should not begin with or at the courts; which should ordinarily be the last resort, except in criminal cases; or what can be termed as matters of urgent national importance.
“Unmitigated conflicts more often than not, poison inter-personal relations; negatively affect inter-personal and inter-group relations; and in general negatively impact upon peaceful coexistence in a very diverse polity, such as Nigeria.
“As we strive to encourage and ensure peaceful resolution of disputes; in the Nigerian polity in particular and political economy in general; there is need to increasingly deploy ADR institutions, processes, procedures and mechanisms; because of their advantages in contrast to ligation in courts.”
Jega noted that many countries have increasingly introduced and enhanced ADR mechanisms to mitigate or resolve conflicts before they degenerate into either time-consuming and costly litigation, or assume irreconcilable and violent dimensions.
He expressed satisfaction with the fact that Nigeria was already beginning to deploy alternative dispute resolution structures, processes, and mechanisms, to address and resolve the phenomenal incidences of conflicts, which affect our nation.
He, therefore, urged participants and ADR professionals to partner with other stakeholders to reposition ADR in Nigeria, by deploying it in many needy spheres towards greater beneficial outcomes.