Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC Nigeria) has said that the only solution to the farmers and Fulani herdsmen clashes in some communities in Nigeria is dialogue and alternative dispute resolution.
The group said that it had trained over 7,000 persons across Nigeria whose job is to help in providing alternatives to the time-wasting, mind-burgling litigation all over the country.
The vice-president, Public Communication and Strategy of ICMC Mr. Uche Anioke who stated this after the inauguration of Onitsha branch of the institute said the body had been in Nigeria for over 20 years with 18 branches across the country.
According to him, “we have trained INEC to the extent that it now has its full directorate of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism with a director; we have trained NNPC staff; we have trained Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); we have trained the civil defence. Our job is to ensure that people who are not in conflict. The institute is ministry of reconciliation.
“The biggest business in this country is conflict and conflicts grow on a daily basis from wherever, whether is family, village, community, local government or state. It goes from conflict to crisis.
“We held ADR conference recently in Enugu and INEC had engaged us in resolving some political disputes; one may not hear about them unlike litigation.
“Conflict is inevitable you can’t wish it away and you can’t abandon it but it can be contained. Families can live together despite their differences; communities, Christians, Muslims, Igbo, Hausa, Yourba, Fulani herdsmen can live in one Nigeria, all need is to imbibe the tenets of alternative dispute resolution.
The best way to resolve the herdsmen-farmers clashes is dialogue. You can’t take communication between two people who have differences as long as we are individuals; we are bound to have differences but we must be willing to live together; we must do away with ego; we must learn how to manage our emotions; Nigerians are very motive some times. The ADR system helps us to programmes ourselves in a manner that we can communicate with even our greatest enemies,” Anioke stated.
The vice-chairman of Onitsha branch of ICMC, Chief Obiora Nzewi, in his response after the inauguration said the branch would put up a robust articulation to ensure that mediation and reconciliation takes a front burner in anything that happens in Onitsha and Anambra State at large.
“That will usher in peace; we want to move in and let people and government understand that when this permeates into the state, the peace we are talking about will come, and when it comes, development follows and before we realise it, the dividends of democracy will now be very free for all to enjoy,” Nzewi declared.
The Executive members of the newly- inaugurated ICMC Onitsha branch included Chief FAR Obi-Okafor (Chairman), Chief Obiora Nzewi (Vice Chairman), Noel N. Udeoji (Secretary), Lauretta A. Ikwuka (Assist Secretary), Margret Oputa (Financial Secretary), Chisolum Okafor (Treasurer), Adaobinna Edozie (Org/welfare Officer) and Chuka Okolie (PRO).