The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wants the country's judiciary to follow ICT (information and communications technology) trends, which have an impact on how justice is administered globally.
The call was made by the Commission's leadership during a workshop for Nigerian judges that began on Tuesday in Lagos and had as its theme “The digital world and the future of adjudication”; judges from the federal and state high courts, as well as appeal courts, were present.
The NCC Board of Commissioners Chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande, called on the legal elite to contribute more to the growth of information and communication technology (ICT) in Nigeria during the 18th annual capacity-building workshop.
While emphasizing the importance of an effective adjudicatory system as the cornerstone of any civilized society, Akande also emphasized the need to continually provide judicial officers with the necessary training for efficient adjudication, particularly in the digitized world where the pace of technological advancement is outpacing that of legal requirements.
In his speech, Prof. Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the NCC, noted that the Internet has a number of drawbacks. As a result, judges should be exposed to both the advantages and drawbacks of new technology.
According to the EVC, judges will learn about disruptive technologies, data subject rights, and jurisdictional challenges in the digital age through the workshop. These topics have continued to make the ICT industry a dynamic one.
“Different specialists will discuss various legal implications during this event as a result of the increased reliance on telecommunications and the expansion observed in the industry. The ownership of online resources and information is one of these challenges.
“Accordingly, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in disputes about who owns the rights to materials and content found online as the volume of online content grows and its economic value rises.
“Your lordships must be adequately ready for the impending rise in litigation in this area. Additionally, given the rise in online transactions and enterprises, it is also advisable for your lordships to be exposed to the unique challenges of conflict resolution in the age of digital presence and online identity, he continued.
According to him, the Commission came up with the concept for the forum as part of their strategic engagement and collaboration as a way to further develop the competence of the outstanding judges by providing them with real-world knowledge on these new issues in the telecoms industry.
“It is hoped that this workshop will shed light on these issues and suggest solutions to deal with the dynamics of a changing world. Therefore, I urge you to freely submit ideas and bring up concerns that would help the commission design effective regulatory policies that would accelerate the growth of the communications industry. We pledge to respect and take into account each and every viewpoint given, he said.
Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), praised the Commission for hosting the annual forum and assured the telecom regulatory of the judiciary's commitment to using technology for justice delivery. He also praised the Commission for supporting a more robust legal ecosystem for sustaining Nigeria's socioeconomic growth through the telecoms sector.
Using ICT, the judiciary has improved, according to Ariwoola, who was represented by Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, not only in terms of judicial administration and services but also in terms of infrastructural development.
Despite the advantages of digitization, according to Ariwoola, there will inevitably be risks and liabilities associated with its introduction and use. Among these dangers are cybercrime, data theft, and hacking, among other vices.
“Delay in delivering justice has been a problem for our legal system. However, many of the challenges brought on by traditional ways are increasingly being eliminated as ICT is being implemented in the judicial sector, he noted.
According to the Chief Judicial, Nigeria's ability to consistently employ ICT tools to better its justice system is what will lead to successful and efficient justice delivery in that country.
He stated, “The Nigerian judiciary is committed to achieving long-lasting structural and ethical reforms that would reposition it to adequately meet the aspirations of court users and the public for the trustworthy, effective, and efficient administration of justice through the use of ICT.”