Alternative mechanisms to court


What are the alternative mechanisms to litigation?

Generally, litigation is known to be the common means in settling claims or disputes in this modern era. However, there are many other means of resolving disputes which are otherwise referred to as ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ (ADR).

Despite the advantages of these Alternative mechanisms, it is important to state here that there are a few situations where claims relating to Human Rights violations are allowed to be entertained by Arbitration panel under the Nigeria laws.

However, below are some of the alternative steps to litigation (in a case not relating to the challenge of the outcome of elections) which an affected citizen could take when he is not interested going to Court.

You may start an action against the violator (also known as Defendant), agency or institution that abused your political rights by way of making a formal complaint to any appropriate authorities in charge. Examples of these authorities may include: National Human Rights Commission.

Here is a format on how a formal complaint looks like which will be filled and submitted at National Human Rights Commission. These include:

  • In the introductory part, the following must be included such as Name, Address, Email, and Telephone of complainant. Note: “Complainant” is a person who brings a claim.

  • In the body of the complaint, the following must be present: story of what happened, name of the violator (individual/ institution) and other necessary things required.

  • At the end of the compliant, you must state certain things you want the Commission to do and ensure your signature is attached.

Alongside the complaint, these are things needed from you to do.

  1. You are advised to include necessary documents that will serve as evidence of the violation done to you.
  2. You are required to provide the contact details (Name, address, telephone) of your witness(s)

To know more about the format of a formal complaint, visit this page.

Dispute Resolution Panel

Political parties in Nigeria usually have a dispute resolution panel requires to look into complaints brought by members of the party and other allegations that limit members’ political rights. Also, this panel usually resolves disputes between the disputing parties without the need of approaching a law court. The claims this panel entertains may include: The Inability to participate in an election either as a voter or candidate aspiring for a public office in party’s primary elections; increase of nomination form fees and withdrawal of names from candidates list.

 Note: The complaint will be directed to the Secretary, Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP). Here are certain things needed to be included in the complaint.

  1. Name of the complainant. Note: “Complainant” is a person who brings a claim.

  2. Date of the violation done to you.

  3. Story of what happened.

  4. Details of the violator.

  5. Relevant evidence that will support your claim.

  6. Things you desire the Panel to do.

  7. Your signature.

Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution (EADR)

This also serves as alternative to litigation whereby a Directorate in the Commission will look into the complaint brought forward to him and settles the misunderstanding between the disputing parties. This is usually done mostly after the declaration of the winner in an Election matter. It should be noted that approaching this Panel depends on the choices of both parties. Note: “Commission” as mentioned above means Independent National Electoral Commission.

You will be required to do the followings:

  1. Identifying the wrongs in the concluded election.
  2. What you want the Panel do to you.
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