3rd September, 2012
The Attorney General and Commissioner or Justice, Lagos State, Ade Ipaye, has declared the readiness of the state government to assist other states in the federation in achieving fast and speedy judicial administration through the system of mediation.
Ipaye said this when he received a delegation of the Implementation Committee of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes on Justice Sector from Bayelsa State who were on a study tour of the Lagos State Multi-door Court House and the Citizens’ Mediation Centre.
He noted that it was the responsibility of the government to resolve disputes amicably and promptly among its citizen without any financial recourse to the people.
The Attorney General added that the government introduced legal aid to indigent citizens and the system of mediation as an alternative to litigation in order to hasten the delivery of justice through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC) and Office of the Public Defender (OPD).
To achieve this, Ipaye stated that the state government had recruited more lawyers and established more Centres across the state with about 12 mediation offices in some local government areas, adding that this development had greatly impacted on the judicial system in the state as it had reduced the congestion in the courts as the Magistrate and High courts were relieved of some cases.
He noted that this mechanism had enhanced prompt judicial delivery since “justice delayed is justice denied,” saying that the mediation centres resolved cases in shorter time as compared to the adjudication in courts.
Ipaye said the method of mediation adopted in the state was participatory and voluntary as parties sign agreements based on their contributions.
“The call from some local government areas clamouring for the establishment of a centre in their locality with the willingness of the people to embrace mediation cannot be underscored,” he said.
The leader of the Bayelsan delegation, Mr. Orukari Amaebi disclosed that their choice of Lagos was predicated on the state’s vibrant judicial reforms, adding that Bayelsa government was willing to adopt the process and workability of the Citizens’ Mediation Centre to improve Justice delivery in Bayelsa State.
Orukari said Lagos was far ahead of other states, hence the visit to tap into its resources to enrich the Bayelsan judicial system, expressing the hope that on returning home, the study would engender effective justice delivery since the state had emulated Lagos on some other judicial reforms which had been helpful.
Another member of the delegation, Mrs. Ugonna Ezekwem, opined that there should be better co-ordination between states and the justice sector agencies to partner with international organisations with a view to harnessing more interactions between the parties to foster rapid resolution of disputes and provide prompt justice to the citizenry.