The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has called on legal practitioners and other residents of the Federal Capital Territory to consider alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in resolving the numerous land cases that are currently pending in FCT Courts.
The Minister made this call on Wednesday, when officials of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja Chapter, led by its Chairman; Barrister Ezenwa Anumnu paid him a visit in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja.
Malam Bello noted that these protracted land disputes give negative perception of Nigeria as a very difficult place to do business, among the international community.
The Minister insisted that some of these land cases could have been settled if there had been adequate discussions for out of court settlements.
According to him, “some of the cases that are pending in court are cases that could really be sorted out just by discussions and that is why we have to encourage alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for these issues to be settled out of court.”
Malam Bello assured that institutions within the FCT Administration would be strengthened to take care of noticeable lapses and promote due process in handling all land related matters.
He said the focus of the FCT Administration, among others, is to make the process of doing business much easier in order to move Nigeria’s level on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index to a better level than what it is today.
“We want to move by at least 20 points from where we are now and we realized that land related transactions constitute a very important measure of how systems are judged, whether they are efficient and user friendly or not,” the Minister stressed.
Malam Bello used the occasion to congratulate the NBA for the successful conduct of its national elections as well as the unique introduction of e-voting; saying the NBA has always been in the forefront of bringing change in the country.
“We have many of your members within the various departments of the FCT Administration and for those that I have been able to have close contacts with, I have found them to be very professional, very hard working and above all, very conscious of what society expects of them as lawyers,” he emphasized.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Unity Branch of NBA, Barrister Ezenwa Anumnu said the BAR was happy with the laudable strides the FCT Administration is making in terms of cleanliness of the FCT and other progressive things that are happening within the Territory.
His words: “We are in touch with the common people in FCT and I can assure you that the responses are positive and encouraging.”
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, FCT Solicitor-General as well as other officials of the FCT Administration joined the Minister to receive the visitors.
Muhammad Hazat Sule, FCAI Deputy Director / Chief Press Secretary,