By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS State Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and the former Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, have acknowledged the role of citizens’ mediation in the promoting of peaceful co-existence in the State. As Ambode promised to establish more mediation centres across the state, Justice Phillips stated that Citizens Mediation Centre, CMC stands better chance of guaranteeing peace than seeking redress in court.
In an event organised to mark this year’s United Nations International Day of Peace in Ikeja by the Citizens’ Mediation Centre, Ambode, represented by the solicitor-general and permanent secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami, said that the centre has over the years recorded successes in conflict resolution on issues that could have degenerated into chaos and unpleasant situations.
The governor noted, “I wish to commend the Citizens Mediation Centre for the successes recorded so far and also charge them to keep up the good work. As the centre marks its 18th anniversary, it is my desire to see that by your 20th anniversary, the centre will have offices nearly everywhere in the state.”
He added that CMC had demonstrated professionalism in its entirety through its amicable way of conflict resolution, saying that matters that could cause disaffection and enmity among residents are being resolved within a minimal time frame, with all disputing parties returning home happy.
Justice Phillips who chaired the occasion said the establishment of the centre has aided the prison decongestion drive of the State Government, and that the centre was a show of the commitment of the State government to the promotion of peace
She maintained that Lagos State can not afford to undermine the place of amicable dispute resolution considering its cosmopolitan nature and its huge populace of people from different race and climes.
According to her , theincidences of jungle justice has been on the decline because of the mediatory role being played by the centre in resolving litigations.
She urged other states in the country to embrace the initiative similar to the CMC if the culture of peaceful co-existence would be entrenched in their respective States.
The Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary , Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami in a welcome address delivered on her behalf by the Director Administrator and General Trustee, Mrs. Olaniyi Mariam, said that the celebration in Lagos State was in recognition of the fact that mediation has become globally accepted and conforms to the constitutional responsibility of government to promote peace within the State.
She informed that CMC was established in 1999 by the State government to provide access to justice to the indigent residents of the State and the centre has since 2015 commenced collaborations with the United Nations Office to mark to the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents of the State
The centre, used the occasion to confer an award of Ambassador of Peace on the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode for her role in peace promotion.