Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo

Technology: Osinbajo launches Africa’s first court recording system July 26

*The launch and application of Africa’s first court recording system promises to eliminate most manual proceedings, and speed up court judgments in Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As regards the application of technological advancement in court hearings in the country’s Judiciary, Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo is billed to launch Africa’s first court recording Monday, July 26, 2021.

As a new frontier in the Judiciary in Nigeria and on the continent, Vice-President Osinbajo will launch Africa’s first court recording system, which promises to eliminate most manual proceedings and speed up court judgments in the country, report said.

The Court recording system will also eliminate writing in longhand by Nigerian judges and ensure the commuting of inmates daily to court.

It was learnt that the Nigerian Vice-President Osinbajo, who pioneered the technological advancement in the country’s Judiciary when he served as the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, again, will take the lead on the continental stage this time around.

While speaking on the topic of virtual court proceedings in Nigeria at the Gavel webinar September 2020, Osinbajo had said that “reporting of court proceedings is a crucial exercise of the right to a fair hearing, a cornerstone of which is that hearings must be held in public.

“How that right will be given full expression when court proceedings are within the encrypted confines of virtual platforms is really the subject of our conversation today.”

He noted: “The Attorneys-General of Lagos and Ekiti States deserve our commendation for bringing the matter before the Supreme Court.

“They asked the court to determine whether having regard to the constitutional requirement that court proceedings, save for some exceptions, must be held in public and whether court hearings by the use of technology, by remote hearings of any kind, whether Zoom or WhatsApp, Microsoft Themes, Skype or any other audio-visual or video-conference platform are constitutional.”

Osinbajo further stated: “The Supreme Court, while dismissing the suits themselves as premature and speculative, nevertheless said that as things stood today virtual proceedings were constitutional.

“This wise approach of the Court probably saved our system of justice another catastrophic round of technical decisions around the constitutionality of virtual proceedings.”

According to the Vice-President, “it may also be cautiously taken as a signal that the Supreme Court expects the lower courts to go down this new path with as little attention to technicality as possible.

“So, we are at a point where at least we know that virtual hearings are legal. This means that the Supreme Court is satisfied that appropriate means can be found to ensure that hearings are public and that the press and indeed members of the public can access the proceedings.”

Report indicates that the event, which will be held virtually Monday, will also have in attendance Honourable Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal.

Also, Mr. Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Funmi Quadri, Principal of Funmi Quadri SAN & Co; Olumide Akpata, President of Nigerian Bar Association and Haliru Nababa, Comptroller General of Nigeria Correctional Services are expected to witness the launch.

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