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Police, others weigh alternative dispute resolution option

By Dennis Agbo

ENUGU- THE Nigeria Police and other security agencies in Enugu state have started looking into Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, mechanisms, particularly on civil matters, as a way of reducing pressures on their part and also to avert litigation at the courts.

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In a capacity building workshop for security agencies, the neighborhood police, community and civil society leaders in Enugu, Mr. Solomon Akpanufot of Nigeria Policing Programme, NPP, said that the ADR options are centered around issues of land disputes, sexual and gender violence, cultism and farmer/herder crisis.

“We want to build capacity of security stakeholders in Enugu state to be able to address conflicts in the communities, without necessarily resorting to litigation. We want see how they can handle issues, especially in land disputes, not turning it to criminal issues and taking it to courts or police. How can ADR be deployed to peace and corporate existence of community members across the communities?” Akpanufot said.

He stressed that on issues such as husband and wife or gender based violence, the police should be able to use mediation to resolve the matter; adding also that if a land dispute has not claimed any life, communities should be able to handle such matters.

“Almost all the land matters are supposed to be civil matters, it’s only when it is not properly handled that it becomes criminal. So we want to see how we can reduce the rate of land dispute matters in Enugu state, using ADR because it’s a key security challenge in the state.”

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Akpanufot stated that the capacity building for the police also goes to traditional rulers, the town unions and community safety partnerships, to be able to address such issues at the community levels. “But in case any of the issues escapes from the community to the police, the Police needs the knowledge of ADR to be able to deal with such matters.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu said the training was important because ADR saves situations and reestablishes confidence between members of the public and the policing institutions.

“It is not just about arresting all the time but we are now trying to look at other platforms, traditionally, religiously and other avenues that can intervene at any given time with a view to reconciling a particular situation.

“That does not mean that when a murder case is presented, it would no longer be a murder case, no, because it’s a criminal matter; but we are looking at that there are some other issues that can come where parties can interface and get them solved.”

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