The Directorate of Citizens’ Rights, Ministry of Justice, Ado-Ekiti is an alternative dispute resolution centre established by the Ekiti State Citizens’ Rights Centre Law Cap E 6, Laws of Ekiti State of Nigeria 2012.
PROFILE OF DIRECTORATE OF CITIZENS’ RIGHTS CENTRE
The Ekiti State Directorate for Citizens’ Rights also known as Citizens’ Rights Centre was established by Section 3 Sub-Section (1) Cap E6 Vol. II of the Laws of Ekiti State 2012. The Citizens’ Right Centre first started its operation in 2001 at Egbeyemi’s House beside Total Petroleum Station Fajuyi, Ado-Ekiti.
Thereafter, it was moved down to Ministry of Justice New Secretariat Complex, Ado-Ekiti seven years after and a law backing it up legally eventually came into being in year 2008. The Centre was established for people to easily have access to Justice and educate them about their rights in the legal system and how their rights can be protected. The Citizens’ Right Centre has outreach offices in the all 16 Local Government Areas in Ekiti State with the goal of ensuring that the impact of its services were felt by the people at the grassroots.
The Citizens’ Right Centre has a Director who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre and he is responsible for the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Centre. This Director is appointed by Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
Also there is a Governing Council for the Centre which consists of seven (7) members and their tenure is for three years and further eligible for re-appointed for another period of three years.
The Citizens’ Rights Centre has the responsibilities of providing free legal services and advice to all and sundry particularly indigent resident of Ekiti State and vulnerable groups especially women widows, children, student, unemployed persons, retirees above the age of 60, any one earning below the current minimum wage approved by the Government and those with physical disability irrespective of tribe, race, religion or political affiliation.
The Centre shall receive complaints directly from affected persons and referrals from NGOs. The Centre may also refer matters to other agencies or NGOs.
The main mandate of the Centre is to provide free legal aid to the people in respect of criminal and civil matter. Also, the Governing Council may by regulations provide that legal aid be given in respect of certain types of classes of criminal or civil proceeding as well as specified and prescribed the scope and extant of legal aid to be given in any proceeding.
One of the major mechanism tool employed by the Centre as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution is mediation and mediation proceeding is guided by the Conciliation Rules in the third schedule to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act Cap: A18 Laws of the Federation 2004. Where the dispute parties reach an amicable settlement, terms of settlement shall be drafted for them and it must be signed by the parties.
Also, this can be enforced by the court upon an application brought by the Centre. Equally, the Centre serves as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre to resolve disputes between parties who voluntarily submit to the mediation of their dispute.
The Centre can mediate on the following:
• Landlord and tenant matters
• Employer and employee matters
• Family matters and matrimonial causes
• Small debt claims
• Breach of agreements and contracts
• Personal injury
• Illegal detention and arrest
• Wrongful demolition
• Consumer Human Right
• Landlord and communal conflicts
• Other related matters
However, the duties of the Centre is not limited to mediation alone, the Centre may also institute an action against anybody who may infringes on another person’s right in regard to matters aforementioned and other related matters.
However, the cause of action in which representation is going to be made on behalf of any party must have occurred within Ekiti State. Equally, the Centre shall be independent and impartial in the conduct of its cases.
There shall be the office of the Public Defender in the Citizens’ Rights Centre as well as office of Consumer Protection Unity, otherwise known as Consumer Rights Centre. The Centre shall be funded by Ekiti State Government and it can also accept donation from Cooperate Organization, NGOs and International Communities or donor agencies. The Centre shall periodically organize symposia, Conferences educational activities, workshops and exchange programmes.
The Centre may accept gift of land and money or accept gifts and other property upon trust and Conditions. If any, as may be specified by the person or organization making the gift. But the Centre shall not accept any gift if the condition attached by the person or organization making such gift are inconsistent with the aim, objectives mandate and functions of the Centre.
Other functions of the centre are as follows:
• To offer solutions that are expedient and less time consuming than adjudication process.
• To arrive at solution through collaboration to the benefit of all parties.
• To provide a free dispute within the shortest possible time.
• To assist disputing parties in arriving at amicable solution through alternative dispute resolution method.
• To perform the roles of a public Defender.
DATA OF MATTERS HANDLED BY DIRECTORATE FOR CITIZENS’ RIGHTS FROM OCTOVER, 2018 TO JULY, 2019
NATURE OF COMPLAINTS
Family Matters/Matrimonial Cases
Reported/Concluded Vide Mediation & Customary/Family Courts
Landlord and Tenant Matters
Reported/Concluded Vide Mediation/Rents Tribunals
Reported/Concluded Vide Mediation
Small Debt Claims
Reported/Concluded Vide Mediation
Gender Based Violence
Child Matter (Up Keep)
Cases in all
Moreover, between the periods stated above in regard to the activities of the Department. Over Sum of N6million Naira has been recovered and disbursed to the Clients.
The name of the Director and other legal officers of the Directorate for Citizens’ Right, Ministry of Justice Ekiti State are as follows:
1. Herbert Alaba Adeyemi Esq. – Director
2. Oluwaseun Fasote Esq. – Deputy Director.
3. Fatai Adeyemo Esq. – Asst. Chief Legal officer.
4. Fajuyi Adetoun Temitayo Esq.- Senior Legal officer
5. Funmilayo Oyeyemi Foluso Esq. – Senior Legal officer.
The Centre can be contacted through this E-MAIL: dcitizensrights @gmail .com
Herbert Alaba Adeyemi Esq.