From Fred Itua, Abuja

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Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has advocated alternative resolution as a panacea for various degrees of tension and crisis bedeviling the country.
The lawmaker said the Senate would continue to support every organisation that preaches peace and provides workable modalities to ensure that Nigerians live in peace with one another to fast-track the nation’s progress.
Ekweremadu spoke when he received the Governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, which paid a working visit to him at the National Assembly at the weekend.
He said the nation was passing through a very difficult phase on many fronts and, needed, the services of trained professionals in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
“I’m sure you are aware of the growing ethnic tensions across the country- tension between the herdsmen and farmers, tension between communities, which we have to resolve, not through the right of might, but through some alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
“We believe these are not matters the courts can easily and effectively deal with. They require alternative means of dispute resolution,” he told the mediators.
The senator called on the Institute of Mediators and Conciliators to deploy its resources, intellect and skills towards ensuring that some of the tensions are dealt with effectively. He said the senate is ready to work with the institute and its likes in promoting ethnic, religious, economic and political harmony and justice.
“The upper legislative chamber also has a standing committee dealing with pubic petitions. So, for us in the senate, we receive and deal with petitions from our constituencies in a non-judicial manner, but through a kind of mediation and conciliation to ensure that disputes are resolved and justice is done in a way that leaves parties involved satisfied. So, we are on the same page with you and I believe we can work together in this regard,” Ekweremadu said.
While assuring them of the willingness of the senate to pass legislations that strengthen ADR in the country, Ekweremadu, however, stressed the need for collaboration among various ADR practitioners and organisations in the country for a more effective and harmonised legislation.
“I observed that there are also other organisations, such the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, that appear to be doing exactly what you do. You need to find a way to liaise with one another, so there can be a harmonised legal architecture for alternative dispute resolution in the country, rather than separate legislation for separate organisations,” he advised.