The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, has said that the Nigerian judicial system needs a complete overhaul to ensure quick and inexpensive justice delivery.
Mr. Mohammed spoke on Friday in Abuja, at the inauguration of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
“There is needed for an overhaul of the Nigerian Judicial System in order to render it fit for the 21st century circumstances; there is need to ensure that justice is quick and inexpensive.
“Litigation has become slow, costly and highly inflating, especially given their complexity, endless interlocutory applications and potential for acrimony,’’ he said.
The ADR centre is an arm of the NICN, which seeks to resolve disputes through a neutral mediator, devoid of litigations; which absolute agreements would be upheld as consent judgment.
While commending the NICN’s initiative and vision in instituting an ADR centre, which he noted was the first in the West African sub-region; the CJN said the centre would ensure swift dispensation of justice without acrimony.
“It has now become abundantly clear that ADR offers a more flexible, people-oriented dispute resolution mechanism.
“The ADR would help prevent widespread industrial relations crises if given adequate support,’’ he added.
The CJN further urged the NICN to employ capable mediators and build the capacity of the centre’s staff to ensure that the “wheels of justice move more freely.’’
He expressed the hope that the centre would be a reference point for affordable and accessible justice for peaceful resolutions.
Justice Babatunde Adejumo, President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, gave the assurance that the centre would ensure adequate resolution of labour related issues.
“One pivotal aim for the centre is to assist parties in dispute to collaborate towards settling their disputes and arriving at a win-win or mutually acceptable agreement in less costly, speedy and efficient manner.
“With the establishment of the court’s ADR centre, the court’s mission of an efficient, timely and just system of justice delivery will be further enhanced.
“Our goal is to have matters determined within 12 months from the time of filing,’’ he said.
Mr. Adejumo said the centre’s headquarters is located in the NICN headquarters in Abuja, with zonal centres in Kano, Gombe, Ibadan, Enugu and Calabar.
He said the court was making remarkable progress towards its vision to bring justice delivery to the door steps of the people at minimal cost, inconvenience and delay.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives from the U.S. Embassy, National Assembly, Anambra and Abia state governments, the Nigerian Bar Association were present at the inauguration.
Other guests at the event were the President, Nigeria Labour Congress and the Governor of Edo , Comrade Adams Oshiomole.