The chairman, governing council of the Nigeria Chambers of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (NCC-DRC), Chief Emeka Obegolu, has tasked Nigerian universities to adopt alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a way of fast-tracking justice dispensation in the country.
He made this call when he received the chairman, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria (CIArb) Abuja Chapter, Hon. Shola Ephraim-Oluwanuga who led top officials of the chapter to the headquarters of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Abuja, where the council is domiciled.
Obegolu, who lamented the dearth of ADR knowledge in current training programme of lawyers in the country, called on universities in Nigeria to
deepen training of lawyers and other stakeholders on ADR to fast-track justice dispensation.
According to him, the non-inclusion of arbitration programme in the training of lawyers should be revisited as the country is in dire need of ADR to address challenges facing justice administration in Nigeria.
He specifically noted that the Nigerian Law School should particularly refocus attention on equipping lawyers with ADR skills and knowledge as justice administration is in need of practitioners with requisite understanding of ADR to speed up justice dispensation.
“If we are to reduce cost of justice administration, if we are to speed up justice dispensation, then legal training should put ADR in the front burner. Arbitration is cheaper, less stressful and saves lots of time. These are reasons why the universities must embrace ADR without further delay.
“This is why we are partnering with some of the universities on ADR to give them opportunity to learn more on ADR because most law graduates of Nigeria think the fastest way to be successful is through litigation. They see litigation as a way out but across the world people have come to embrace ADR as a way of settling disputes,” he said.
Obegolu who is also ACCI 1st deputy president, pointed out that the vision of the centre was to sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CIArb to move forward in this area, adding their request for their members to be nominated arbitration secretaries had been noted and would be considered.
Earlier, Shola, who lauded the centre’s recently launched mentorship programme for ADR, said the institute was aware of this giant stride in arbitration hence, the need to seek partnership with the centre.
“One thing we must say is ADR is cheaper, faster and one can still make friends after every issue is settled unlike in litigation,” he added.
A statement by the ACCI media/strategy officer, Olayemi John-Mensah, said
one of the visiting team members, A.T. Kehinde (SAN) also lauded the mentorship programme while urging for more publicity for people to key into it.