US embassy cable - 01ABUJA989

Senger Challenges Nigerian Legal Profession to Provide Greater Access to ADR

Identifier: 01ABUJA989
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA989 at
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-05-04 14:28:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

State for IIP/F/AF Danz/Esquetini; AF/PD 
Skop; and AF/W Martschenko 
Lagos for PAS Lauterbach and Lisenby 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: Senger Challenges Nigerian Legal Profession to Provide Greater Access to ADR 
Ref: Lagos 00778 
1. Summary:  Department of Justice Deputy 
Senior Counsel for Dispute Resolution 
Jeffrey Senger challenged leaders in 
Nigeria's courts and executive branch to 
address the practicalities of a court-based 
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system 
that could lower costs, bring greater access 
to dispute resolution to average Nigerians 
and alleviate clogged court dockets.  Senger 
was lead speaker on the theme  tandards for 
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria: 
What Now?" in Abuja on April 5.  Other 
speakers included the Registrar of the 
Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of Kaduna 
State, the President  Special Advisor on 
Legal and Constitutional Matters, the Vice 
President of the Nigerian Bar Association 
and a retired U.S. California state judge 
associated with the USAID Rule of Law 
Program in Abuja.  The audience of 60 
included a broad spectrum of judicial and 
other GON officials.  Rather than just 
introduce the topic of ADR or train a small 
group based in Lagos, this program assembled 
key individuals and groups critical to 
fostering the institutionalization of ADR 
within the Nigerian judicial process.  This 
is a GPRA report.  End Summary. 
2. Activity Description: A one-day seminar 
on Alternative Dispute Resolution held in 
the Nigerian capital, Abuja.  Senger, who 
served as the lead speaker at this 
conference, was joined by a number of 
distinguished Nigerian and American 
presenters including Dr. Maxwell Gidado, 
Senior Special Assistant to President 
Obasanjo on Legal and Constitutional 
Matters; Justice Rahila Cudjoe of the Kaduna 
State Judiciary; Judge Henry Ramsey, Jr. 
from the U.S. National Center of State 
Courts; and Prince Adetokumbo Kayode, First 
Vice President of the Nigerian Bar 
3. Justification and Objective: Over the 
last seven years, Post has sponsored ADR 
projects in support of judicial reform 
efforts in Nigeria.  Through this program, 
PAS Abuja hoped to further strengthen 
Nigeria's nascent democracy by encouraging 
government institutions to devise a process 
for setting ADR standards within the 
judicial process. 
4. MPP Umbrella Themes and Audiences 
Reached: NI-PD-01 (Strengthening Democracy). 
The program reached an array of judicial and 
other GON officials, members of the Nigerian 
Bar Association, and journalists.  Also, 
Nigeria's largest TV network, the Nigerian 
Television Authority (NTA), gave the program 
unprecedented prominence as the lead story 
on its Network News the day of the seminar. 
NTA Network News boasts over 30 million 
viewers and serves as a primary source of 
information for government officials and the 
country's elite. 
5. Immediate Result/Impact: Excellent. 
Previous PAS ADR programs in Nigeria were 
aimed at either providing training or 
increasing understanding of ADR mechanisms. 
Senger's program successfully changed that 
focus by addressing the necessary 
qualifications for mediators.  This opened a 
debate among the participants on whether 
mediation should be restricted to lawyers. 
Justice Cudjoe, who traveled 200 kilometers 
to participate in the program, also 
recommended that Nigerian judges encourage 
litigants to explore the use of mediation to 
settle disputes out of court.  Such action 
would provide institutionalization of ADR in 
association with the court system. 
6. Date: April 5, 2001 
Fiscal Year: FY  001 
Quarter: Third 
7. Non-USG Funding Sources or In-Kind 
Support: N/A 
8. Quality of U.S. Support: Excellent.  Post 
appreciates the support of IIP/F/AF in 
identifying Senger for this highly 
successful ADR project.  He earned the 
respect of the participants by combining his 
U.S. mediator experience with concrete 
examples of African courts using ADR to 
decongest dockets.  In light of the 
program's success, Post would welcome a 
return appearance by Senger to address the 
question of mediation. 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04