Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday inaugurated the Governing Council of the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC), urging members of the Council to work assiduously to enhance the capacity of the Centre to provide free and effective alternative dispute resolution of matters.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the inauguration ceremony, held at the Lagos House in Ikeja, said his administration will continue to ensure the growth and expansion of the CMC in recognition of the important role the Centre plays in mediating on disputes reported in respect of all matters that fall within the ambit of its statutory duties as well as providing free dispute resolution options.
“In every city where monetary, human and other capitals flow in such large volume as can be found in our State, an alternative to the adversarial means of resolving disputes must be put in place for easier and faster resolution of matters. Lagos State’s answer to this trend is the Citizens Mediation Centre.
“The Citizens Mediation Centre serves as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre providing a non- adversarial forum for the mediation and settlement of disputes between parties who voluntarily agree to the mediation of the disputes by mediators.
“In recognition of the important role the Centre plays in mediating on disputes reported in respect of all matters that fall within the ambit of its statutory duties as well as providing free dispute resolution options, we, as government have continued to ensure the growth and expansion of the Centre into remote areas of the State,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor said the setting up of the Council was in line with the Citizens Mediation Centre Law of 2015 (CMC Law), whose functions, among other things would include monitoring performance of the Centre; assess user satisfaction of mediation services; review and formulate new policy guidelines for the Centre for the overall development and growth of the Centre, amongst other functions.
He said the composition of members of the council was based on their track record and area of expertise, just as he charged them to be diligent and demonstrate the integrity and impartiality which the task deserves.
“I have no doubt that you will all bring your wealth of experience to bear on the mandate of the Lagos State Citizens Mediation Centre and that you all will justify the confidence this administration has reposed on you,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier, while introducing members of the Governing Council, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem recalled that the CMC was established in 1999 as a unit under the Directorate of Citizens’ Right of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice before it emerged as an entity by law in 2007 to provide speedy free legal services to the needy and residents of the State irrespective of tribe, race and religion.
The Governing Council is headed by Hon. Justice Olayinka Gbajabiamila rtd as Chairman and Mrs Oluwatoyin Ogunsanya; Mrs Omololu Adesina; Mrs. Amanda Asagba; Mr. Mohammed Iskil Lawal; Mr Tokunbo Jaiye- Agoro and Mrs Yinka Odukoya as members.
The Attorney General said over the years, the Centre has become a household name, a reference point and a model for other States due to the commitment of the State Government to enhance their service delivery.
“The template of the Citizens’ Mediation Centre over the years has been replicated in some States through the effort and assistance of the Lagos State CMC. The establishment and activities of the centre has also engendered the inclusion of Conflict Resolution studies as practiced in some tertiary institutions in Nigeria,” Kazeem said.
He said the Centre currently has 18 units spread across the State, assuring that the present administration will ensure expansion of the Centre in each Local Government Area and Local Council Development Area in the State in order to bring mediation services closer to the people.
In his vote of assurance, the newly appointed Chairman of the Council, Justice Gbajabiamila thanked Governor Ambode for the confidence reposed in him and members of the Council, assuring that they would work assiduously to carry out their task in the best interest of Lagosians.