Minister of Justice, Mr. Bayo Ojo (SAN)
By Tobi Soniyi
The Chief Judge of the Abuja High Court, Justice Lawal Gummi and a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bayo Ojo (SAN), on Tuesday in Abuja called for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve the incessant attacks by the Boko Haram sect as well as ethnic and religious crises in the country.
Also, the President of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Patrick Njoku, called on conflict resolution practitioners especially mediators to take up the challenge and begin the process of restoring peace to Nigeria just as he declared that Nigerians had lost faith in the ability of the security agencies to protect their lives and property.
Addressing the newly-inducted fellows of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, Gummi said the time had come to stop seeing litigation as the only means of resolving disputes.
He said: “The rising spate of insecurity, communal clashes, sectoral violence and violence following almost every election at all tiers of government is an indication of the fact that we must develop peaceful means of resolving our disputes and differences.”
He called on government at all levels to adapt to the changing needs of the society that it serves and realise that mediation afford an opportunity not only to access justice quickly and at relatively low cost but also to solve ethnic, political and religious problems that until now were considered intracable.
He said there was no war that was won by the barrel of the gun.
Gummi, who was represented by a judge of the court, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, said there were interests inherent in political process that required more than a bullet or a machete or even the just determination of an arbiter to resolve.
He said: “There comes a time when commonsense indicates that warring factions must be brought together on a roundtable to sit together and negotiate themselves out of their difference and on their own interest.”
In his keynote address occasion Ojo, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) noted that most of the ethno-religious crises in Nigeria required the intervention of a mediator as the only viable process of resolution.
According to him, to be able to achieve this, the feuding parties, be they intra ethnic or religious require mutual trust to overcome emotional blockage and realistic assessment of their grievances.