Governor Ayade seeks alternative dispute resolution
Eme Offiong, Calabar
The judiciary has been urged to pursue alternative dispute resolution in the administration of justice as a new legal year commences in Cross River State in southern Nigeria.
The governor, Professor Ben Ayade made the appeal to judicial officers in the state during a thanksgiving service to mark the beginning of a new legal year.
Governor Ayade, who was accompanied by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu for the thanksgiving service at the Hope Waddel Presbyterian Church in Calabar, said that the adoption of alternative dispute resolution would enhance speedy conclusion of cases and was cost effective.
Ayade, who decried the rises cases of litigations, said “as different people come before you for litigations, it is your duty to know that your first option is alternative conflict resolution. Even when clients have no case, it is lawyers that always urge them on. Divine wisdom allows you to be very ecclesiastic as you advise your innocent clients.”
Recalling the painful loss of Cross River’s 76 oil wells, Ayade insisted that judges should go beyond the mere application of laws within a theoretical context to sociological application.
“Jurisprudence will insist that you can take rightfully from a man, who has 100 yams, even though the yams rightfully belong to him, and give to his brother who has none. It is allowed in law. So for us lawyers, you must have conscience, you must have morality,” said Ayade.
On judicial autonomy, he explained that was behind his signing of the bill granting autonomy to judiciary stating judicial autonomy was necessary for effective dispensation of justice.
Other dignitaries in attendance were the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Eteng Jones Williams.