Kingsley Madaki, Abuja
Worried over several unresolved land cases against the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT), Minister in charge of the territory, 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, Wednesday, when officials of Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), led by its Chairman, Barrister Ezenwa Anumnu, paid him a visit.
Bello noted that the protracted land disputes gave negative perception of Nigeria as a very difficult place to do business, among the international community.
The Minister insisted that some of the land cases could have been settled if there had been adequate discussions for out of court settlements.
“Some of the cases that are pending in court 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”, he said.
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, was to make the process of doing business easier in order to move Nigeria’s level on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index to a better level.
“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.
The minister used the occasion to congratulate the NBA for the successful conduct of its national elections as well as the 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 said.
While speaking, Barrister Anumnu said lawyers are happy with the laudable strides the FCT Administration is making in terms of cleanliness and other progressive actions happening within the Territory.
“We are in touch with the common people in FCT and I can assure you that the responses are positive and encouraging”, he said.