UNDP advocates institutionalisation of ADR in Police, other security agencies
The Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security Unit, UNDP Nigeria, Mr Mathew Alao, says institutionalisation of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will enhance quick dispensation of justice and reduce the spate of violence in Nigeria.
“There is need to insitutionalise ADR in police because it is a major institution that can help to promote peace at the community level,” Alao said.
He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan at the sideline of training on conflict resolution for Ekiti lawmakers, some executive members and civil society organisations.
The training organised by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is with the theme “implementation of the Conflict Sensitive Approach to Development Programme, Budget Formulation, Monitoring and Reporting”.
While noting that human right violation and quest for justice were the major factors of violence extremism in the country, he added that delay in justice dispensation always encourages violence.
He said that one of the researches and assessments UNDP conducted among the violent extremism emergent states showed that the major cause of violent extremism is human right violation and delay in getting justice.
“People, who felt aggrieved and that there were injustice against them and that no credible platform for them to complain and get justice and because of that thy vent their anger against the system.
“The way out of this is to strengthen the justice system of the country.
“To ensure that anybody that commits crime get punished because with the culture of impunity there will be no end to violent or extremism in the society.
“But whenever a system has a mechanism in place to identify, prosecute and sanction , that will serve as a deterrent to others. Yes there will always be defiant people in the society but it will reduce.
“Not that crime doesn’t happen in the other clime in places like the U.S., UK and others but offenders are promptly identified and sanctioned, which is not so in Nigeria.
“Hence Nigeria needs to review its judicial system to ensure that offenders are tried and justice is served on time,” he said.
Alao noted that special tribunal courts that are being set up from time to time have not sped up justice hence the need to take a holistic approach to enhance the judicial process.
“We need to look at the system and purify the system. Get the system to work for the people in an expenditures manner.
“Like it was done in the UK which Nigerian justice system is patterned after. At a point they also experienced what Nigeria is experiencing now; where you have years of prosecutions unending.
“Then, they did a reform in 1998 and they categorised cases into three: Fast track, middle track and the long one. If you commit a civil crime they expect that maximum in three months justice should have been served.
“In Nigeria, the Administrative Justice Crime Reform is innovative in a way but until it can discharge justice timely, people will keep taking advantage of the system and get away from the track of crime,” Alao said.
He added that “not until the country get to a time when it can dispense justice timely, people will still get away from the track of crime.
“UNDP has examined the fundamentals of violence at the community level but one major finding was that people feel offended one way or the other.
“And there is no platform to vent their anger and because of that they take laws into their hands.
“And, to get people out of that mode there is a need to provide a platform to address their grievances and mind you what people are looking for is fair justice not real justice.
“In fair justice you called the parties together and tell them don’t do this again, you are brothers, you are sisters and that is what people are looking for,” he said.
Alao said UNDP had started that with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence to create a peace desk for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
“In which people report cases to them free of charge, they mediate between them and design settlement agreement which bind the two parties to whatever agreement they arrived at.
“We also that felt police is a major institution in Nigeria that can help to promote peace at the community level.
“They are doing it but it is not institutional because if you go into the police station and meet the experienced ones on the desk they will invite you and advise you to settle whatever issue you have amicable.
“We need to institutionalise ADR in a way that they don’t see every offense reported as a crime.
“And they don’t see anybody that report as someone to arrest and put behind bars because society must continue to enjoy relationship that is the bond that brings society together.
“In my place they say you don’t go to court and come back to be friends the same goes for police station, you don’t go there and come back to be friends.
“But you can go to police station if they have peace desk and come back to laugh and become even deeper friends thereafter because most of the misunderstandings are not necessarily conflicts they are just mere communication gap.
“And when people are called together and they explain what is their interest while they need to get justice because that is what they have to look at.
“Why do I need to get justice is an interest. Most of the cases that are leading to violent crime in Nigeria to arson, destruction and killing of life is just for someone to say you have offended me I’m sorry,” he said.
Alao also stressed the need to build trust between the security agencies and the people in Nigeria and ADR can help do that as people need to see that what you are preaching you are also doing it. (NAN)