THE DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENS’ RIGHTS
The Citizens’ Rights Department is one of the two new Departments in the Federal Ministry of Justice. Its primary function is the protection of the rights of citizens, thereby affording them access to justice. It effectively took-off some time in November, 2005. The Department is headed by a Director who is supported by lawyers and support staff.
In line with the vision statement of the Ministry, the Citizens’ Rights Department mission statement is “to Foster Democracy through the Protection of The Rights of the Citizens, and giving them access to justice.”
The mission of the department is “to give quality service through quick disposal of cases by employing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.”
Petitions are directed or sent to the Department from the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Such petitions include among others,
i. Landlord/tenant disputes, employer/employee,
ii. Domestic violence especially cases involving husband/wife,
iii. Inheritance disputes,
iv. Widows’ rights, land matters, enforcement of court judgment etc.
All petitions referred to the Department are investigated and treated promptly within the limits of resources provided in the Ministry, either by mediation, arbitration, conciliation, counselling; or a hybrid process.
i. Customers may expect:
ii. Prompt and courteous treatment:
iii. Adequate information on progress of work on their petitions.
iv. Thorough investigation of matters referred.
When the Department is fully operational the Department works with other Agencies in the human rights Sector, e.g Judiciary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Federal Ministry of Labour, the Legal Aid Council, National Human Rights Commission, the Media, Police, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) like WOTCLEF, WRAPA, and Donor Agencies.