L-R: Director, Citizens Mediation Centre, CMC, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi and Director, Legal Services, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Saheed Quadri, who represented the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, at the Press Briefing to mark the U.N International Day For Peace, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday

The Lagos State Government said its Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC) received 30,467 dispute cases between January and August this year.

The Attorney General of the state, Moyo Onigbanjo, (SAN), made this known on Tuesday during a media briefing to commemorate 2019 International Day of Peace in Lagos State.

The Attorney General, represented by the Director, Civil Litigation of the Ministry, Saheed Quadri, said that the centre was able to mediate in the cases toward ensuring peace in the state.

Onigbanjo, who is also the Commissioner for Justice, said that during this period, the centre recovered N799,402,558 while resolving the cases.

He said that CMC, an initiative of the Lagos State Government under the Ministry of Justice, was first established in 1999 as a unit of the Directorate of Citizens’ Right in the Ministry of Justice.

According to him, with the enactment of the CMC Law in 2007, it became a statutory agency of the state government.

“The Centre provides Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services free of charge by use of mediation thus enabling indigent residents of Lagos State have prompt access to justice, irrespective of tribe, religion or financial capacity.

“Services rendered by the Centre include settlement of disputes relating to Landlords/Tenants, Employers and Employees disputes, Family Matters (including marital disputes, Child Custody etc.).

“Others are Property Inheritance, Land Matters, Monetary Claims, Local relationships and Commercial disputes. Since the commencement of mediation services in Lagos State and its wide acceptance by residents, the Centre had resolved thousands of matters amicably and assisted in decongesting the courts and prisons,” he said.

Onigbanjo said that the theme for this year’s United Nations International Day of Peace is ”Climate Action for Peace: Clear Blue Skies”.

He stated that the theme drew attention to climate change as a threat to international peace and security.

The Attorney General said that national disasters, conflicts, food insecurity, growing tension over resources and mass movement of people were all as a result of climate change.

According to him, in the lead up to the International Day of Peace 2019, the UN had asked all to take action by raising awareness from conserving nature, supporting renewable energy to adopting environmentally friendly practices.

The commissioner said this year’s theme sought to draw attention of government, policy makers, stakeholders and citizens to the importance of combating climate change, as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

“The Lagos State Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency of government that promotes peace in Lagos State, has always been joining the United Nations to commemorate this day.

“Climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security. Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere.

“Desertification, flooding, pollution of the air, land and sea are some of the adverse effects of the harsh treatment of the environment. These as a result lead to the displacement of families, loss of lives, loss of sources of income and property which inevitably lead to unavoidable conflict.

“In Lagos State, our commitment to amicable disputes and conflict resolution and the promotion of peaceful and harmonious co-existence is unshaken. Teaching the people to treat the environment in a friendly way will reduce conflict, crimes and truancy in our communities, consequently reducing litigation and the amount of tax payers’ money used in funding them,” he said.

The commissioner said that adopting this strategy for pursuing peace rather than intervening when crimes might had been committed would set Lagos State in the position of a pacesetter for other states to emulate.

He said that to improve education on climate change, the Lagos State Government through CMC would engage in Tree Planting and waste to wealth by recycling used plastics.

As a way of marking the Day, the Director, Citizens Mediation Centre, Mrs Omotola Rotimi, said the agency would embark on a week-long programme and activities such as tree planting.

She added that the agency would also support the less privileged through proceeds from sales of plastics to recyclable companies by the agency.