Thursday, November 09, 2006

ADR is core function of NCC – Ndukwe

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has asserted that the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is a core function of the NCC in settling disagreements among stakeholders in the sector.

Speaking at a workshop for selected panel of neutralists in Abuja recently, he said that increased activities in the telecommunications due to liberalisation of the sector has engendered rise in different forms of disputes which if not properly managed could hamper the immense success and development currently being experienced.

The EVC went on to describe resolutions by Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) as one of the core functions of the commission under Section 4(p) of the Nigerian Communication Act, 2003 ("the Act"), noted that by virtue of this section, the commission was bound to examine and resolve complaints filed by and disputes between licensed operators, consumer or other persons involved in the communications industry.

Under this Act, Dr. Ndukwe said NCC is empowered to use such dispute resolution methods as it may determine from time to time including mediation and arbitration.

According to him, Resolution of disputes using the ADR mechanism has a lot advantages over the traditional court system of adjudication, saying it is faster, cheaper, devoid of legal technicalities and user friendly because it allows parties to choose their panel and make considerable inputs into the proceedings."

Such processes he also observed, must however be guided by the objective of establishing a sustained dispute resolution process that is not bound by technicalities, legal form or strict rules of evidence and must at all times be in accordance with the ethics of justice and the merit of the case,” he said.

The NCC boss also explained that the commission engaged the services of disputes resolution specialists to partner with the commission in the development of the guidelines and selection of Neutrals.

"Further to the establishment of the NCC Dispute Resolution Guidelines, the Commission has constituted a panel of seasoned and well experienced panel of Neutrals to handle disputes that would be settled under the Guidelines", he highlighted.

In addition, he said that the selected neutrals were are expected to play a crucial role in the successful implementation of Dispute Resolution Guidelines and effectively contribute to the development of ADR mechanisms in the telecommunications sector.

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