Lagos Citizens Mediation centre intervened in 22,952 disputes in 2015
The Director, Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC) Lagos, Mrs Oluwatoyin Odusanya, said on Thursday that the centre mediated in 22,952 complaints in 2015.
Odusanya disclosed this while delivering a keynote address entitled, “The Overview of the Citizens Mediation Centre’s Activities, Prospects and Challenges”, at an event organised by the Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates (SCMA).
SCMA is an international nonprofit organization with its headquarters in UK.
She said: “In 2015, a total of 37,275 complaints were received while 22,952 were mediated upon out of which 21,534 matters were resolved and the monetary settlement was to the tune of N812 million.
“In January and February 2016, 7,511 cases have been received so far, while 4,088 were handled by the Centre out of which 4,069 were resolved with the value of the settlement being N84 million.”
Odusanya said that the CMC was established in 1999 to provide free services for the indigent residents of Lagos State.
“The CMC enforced an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme that ensures speedy dispensation of justice without recourse to the cumbersomeness of the court system.
“The CMC utilizes only the mediation aspect of ADR and is backed up by the Lagos State Citizens’ Mediation Law 2007.”
On matters being handled by the CMC, Odusanya said landlords and tenants’ disputes, employer- employee disagreements, family matters, property inheritance, monetary claims to commercial disputes among others were handled by her organisation on a regular basis.
She added:”We have handled matters in which DNA tests have had to be conducted to establish paternity.
“We have successfully mediated in a lot of matters involving foreigners who have defaulted in the payment of their employees’ salary.
“Also, certain secrets and confidential information that cannot be told in the courtroom are often revealed in the privacy of the mediation room.”
Odusanya lauded Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, for his interest in the judiciary.
“The governor has interest in access to justice by all and sundry and he has directed that the CMC must be present to offer services in all local government areas and local council development areas in the state.”
The CMC boss said the organisation was currently in partnership with the Lagos office of the United Nations Information Office, Justice for All, the Mirabel Centre, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) among others
She identified challenges facing the centre as lack of conducive office, inadequate funding, lack of office furniture and equipment, absence of an ADR judge as well handling some mentally unstable people in the course of mediation.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the associate convener of SCMA, Mr Velentino Buoro, said the SCMA in partnership with the CMC would provide two days of pro bono legal services to disputants.
“As part of its corporate social responsibility, the SCMA has volunteered through its accredited associates to provide two days of pro bono services.
“This offer is available to disputants who refer their disputes to the CMC in Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Ikeja on Tuesday and Thursday of every week.”
He said that this collaboration with the CMC and the SCMA will be the first in the enhanced package of mediation services in Nigeria.
Buoro also requested a collaboration with litigation lawyers whose cases were referred for mediation.
“We look forward to working with our learned colleagues in litigation who may reach out to request our professional services or counsel whenever their matters are referred to mediation either by presiding judges or opposing parties.”
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