Cooper (2nd right), Odusanya (middle) and other top staff of CMC in a group picture at the training

Cooper (2nd right), Odusanya (middle) and other top staff of CMC in a group picture at the training

Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos State Citizens Mediation Centre, CMC, says it has been able to resolve 11,912 disputed cases among residents of Lagos in the last six months.

The Director, CMC, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya disclosed this at the weekend during a one-day training on “Specialised Mediation Skill Set Approaches” for staff of the centre.

Dr. Christopher Cooper, founder of Saint Xavier University’s Centre for Conflict Resolution, United States, facilitated the training held in Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

According to Odusanya, the CMC received 12,789 matters from residents of the state on civil matters, such as tenancy issues, employer-employee dispute, marital crisis, among others, adding that out of this figure, 11,912 disputes were amicably resolved.

“In the last six months, we had 12,789 matters which were mediated upon and we have been able to resolve 11,912 cases. People are becoming more aware of the system and having confidence in the system,” she said.

She said the challenges being faced by the centre stemmed from the fact that some people thought they could explore the use of mediation “to buy time but now, they found out that it is not like that, it is something that actually has to do with people having a commitment with their agreement and taking ownership of the process in order to ensure that peace and stability hold sway.”

Odusanya stated that the essence of the training programme was to ensure that CMC staff were equipped with latest tips and tools mediation skills.

“Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, process which encourages people to resolve their dispute amicably instead of going to court. It has assisted greatly in decongesting the courts and it has ensured that the poor people within the state have access to justice. This is in line with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to ensure that the poor has access to justice.

“We do not engage in authoritative mediation because the tenet of mediation has to be voluntary, you cannot compel anybody. When you compel somebody, it is no longer mediation,” she stated.

The director advised residents of Lagos to embrace mediation as it was becoming effective way of resolving dispute instead of going to the court where “you can spend years to resolve cases and spend money. We do our service free of charge.”

She disclosed that the centre now had 15 offices across the state with the last one opened at Ojokoro area of Lagos to allow indigent residents had access to justice.

Speaking during the training, Cooper said conflict could be amicably resolved if proper mediation skills were employed.