Community leaders and other well-meaning Nigerians have been urged to acquire communication skills to enable them handle conflict resolution effectively.
This advice was given by Mr Akinwunmi Olayemi, the Chief Executive Officer of a non-government organisation, the Prisons Rehabilitation and Law Abiding Organisation (PRALAG), at the graduation and empowerment ceremony of the first set of paralegal graduates of the NGO which took place at the PRALAG human rights office in EXPOYO, Samonda, Ibadan.
According to the PRALAG boss, with effective communication skills, knowledge of human rights and the rudiments of law, community leaders and other credible members of the society can provide the mechanism for alternative dispute resolution, leading to crime prevention and ultimately reducing the influx of people into prisons mostly occasioned by their ignorance of the law or implications of their actions.
At the ceremony, 50 persons comprising community leaders, businessmen\women, artisans, students, marketmen\ women and others were awarded certificates after undergoing courses in communication skills, alternative dispute resolution, human rights and the Nigerian legal system, among others
The PRALAG boss said: “By this training, you have been equipped to bridge the gap between the masses and the legal system. Your interventions will help people to move away from crime and, thereby, reduce criminality and the number of those going to prison. In a nutshell, you have been trained to contribute to the growth of your country by ensuring a crime-free society.”
Olayemi highlighted some of the organisation’s objectives to include rehabilitation and empowerment of prison inmates, destitute and other underprivileged Nigerians, training of credible people on paralegal issues to enable them resolve disputes in their communities rather than resort to litigation with its tortuous and traumatic implications.
Others are the training of individual groups and associations on human capacity development, criminal justice system and knowhow, ensuring the protection of the human rights of Nigerians through collaboration with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, the National Human Rights Commission, the Global Rights Organisation among others.
He said: “In PRALAG, our passion is to contribute our quota to Nigeria’s development by ensuring a crime-free society. Since the inception of PRALAG in 2014, we have empowered and rehabilitated over 25 prison inmates and ensured the release of 10 awaiting trials who were detained unjustly.
We are in the process of securing the release of many others but for financial constraints,” adding that we have also given succour to over 20 destitute by providing them with empowerment tools.”
One the graduands, a tea and coffee farmer, Comrade W.A. Akanni, told the Nigerian Tribune that he had been a beneficiary of the humanitarian gesture of the organisation since it began in 2014. He thanked the management for their selflessness and public spirit and urged well-meaning Nigerians to support the body.
Another respondent, Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Brown, said she was proud to be associated with the organisation whose major concern is to create a safe environment for the attainment of the nation’s socio-political development.