In line with its dispute settlement mandate, the Lagos State Citizens’ Mediation Centre has highlighted the need for individuals to be more tolerant of one another for continued peaceful co-existence.
Speaking at an event to mark this year International Day of Tolerance, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, stated that intolerance could bring about increased litigations and unrest among members of the public.
Kazeem, who was represented by the Director, Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya, said the two-day sensitization walk to different parts of Badagry and Ojo Local Government areas was held in conjunction with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) to assure residents of the State government’s commitment to the delivery of justice.
He explained that the State Government’s resolve to maintain the peaceful ambience of the State informed the establishment of the Citizens’ Mediation Centre to explore alternative ways and mechanisms that would raise the tolerance level of Lagosians and improve harmonious living.
“We believe that Ojo and Badagry axis of the State are cosmopolitan in nature and Badagry specifically is a home to several tribes and people of different languages. Apart from this, we are also saying that regardless of where people reside in Lagos State, their location would not be a barrier to access to justice and that explains why we have CMC offices across all the Local Government and Council Development Areas, including Badagry and Ojo,” the Attorney General said.
He commended the level of awareness of CMC activities among the populace, saying that the increased level of awareness is responsible for the rise in the number of complaints received by the Centre from 3,000 monthly to about 4,000.
“The implication of the increase in complaints from 3,000 and 4,000 this year shows that people now trust the officials of the agencies and our various mediators. People now take us seriously because we have earned their confidence over the years plus the fact that those who have approached the Centre in the past for mediation purposes attest to the respite which the Centre brought their way,” the Attorney General stated.
Also speaking at the Ojo centre during the Tolerance Walk, the Director of UNIC for Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja, described conflict as an indispensable feature in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos that houses different tribes, but added that the mechanism put in place to mediate between aggrieved parties shows the level of responsiveness by the concerned government institution.
He said that Lagosians now see CMC as an opportunity to confide in an established institution of government as against keeping quiet and allowing themselves to die in silence.
Kayanja implored other States of the federation to emulate the Lagos model by establishing mediation centres to avail citizens the access to prompt and free justice delivery.
The officials of the Centre and the mediators were received by the Akran of Badagry in his palace alongside members of his royal cabinet while the Vice-Chairman of Ojo Local Government, Mrs. Edna Obechi with some cabinet members received the CMC officials at the Ojo Local Government Secretariat.