The Office of the Public Defender, a government owned human rights protection agency in Ekiti, on Tuesday, expressed concern at increasing rate of marital conflicts and land disputes in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Mrs Bolanle Wale-Awe, told newsmen in Ado Ekiti that marital conflicts and land disputes were the two common societal challenges affecting the peace and stability of the state.
She also hinged the increasing cases of rape and sexual assault on unemployment and indiscipline which he said must be tackled to protect the society.
The executive secretary said that the government agency mediated in over 50 marriage-related conflicts in 2019 alone.
Besides, she said a proportionate number of land dispute cases were brought to its attention during the same year while several similar issues were still pending before the agency.
She said that the state government established the outfit to give free legal services, advice and mediate in marital conflicts as well as land disputes to bring justice to the doorsteps of the oppressed.
“The commonest of all the issues we are handling here are land disputes and cases of marital disharmony which border on fight over paternity of children.
“In many of those cases we handled, we normally conduct DNA tests and found out that most men are in the habit of denying the pregnancy they were responsible for.
“Some men were also fond of abstaining from the upkeep of their children among other nefarious acts.
“Another issue is this high tendency of some people fighting over land or owners of land trying to sell a plot to two or three persons.
“All these are creating instability and heating up the society.
“We are dealing with over 20 variants of issues to bring justice to the people and to decongest our courts because many of the cases that will take four years in courts can be handled and settled here in a day,”she said.
She called for more funding for the agency to improve automation of data processing and compilation, create conducive atmosphere for personnel and meet other obligations that would strengthen the agency for better productivity.
“We have about nine lawyers here offering legal services among other staff, but this place is not conducive enough for them to perform.
“It will also help the society if the government can relocate this office to a more conspicuous location where people can locate us easily.
“With this, we will have the opportunity of solving many societal problems and relieve our courts of congestion for speedy delivery of justice,”she added.(NAN)