L-R: Josephine Amuwa, Director, Legal and Regulatory Services at NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC; Hon. Justice Salisu Garba, Administrator of National Judicial Institute; Hon. Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Justice of Supreme Court of Nigeria; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Board of Commissioners of NCC; Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, at the Workshop, in Lagos Photo: NCC

NCC seeks interest, participation of Judiciary in global ICT trends

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of the telecoms regulatory Commission, at a capacity-building workshop in Lagos, says the Nigerian Judges will be exposed to new technologies, rights of data subjects, and jurisdictional issues making the ICT industry a dynamic one in the digital age

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is seeking the country’s Judiciary becomes part of the global Information Communications Technology (ICT) trends, which impact has now affected ways justice is delivered across the world.

ConsumerConnect reports Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Friday, December 2, 2022, stated the leadership of the telecoms regulatory Commission said this during a workshop organised for Nigerian Judges.

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The  workshop started Tuesday, in Lagos, with the theme: “The digital world and the future of adjudication”.

The NCC noted that Judges from the Federal and State High Courts, and Appeal Courts attended the programme.

Digital skills for effectual adjudication

Speaking at the 18th annual capacity-building workshop, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of NCC Board of Commissioners, urged the legal luminaries to make greater contributions towards ICT development in Nigeria.

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In regard to the centrality of a functional adjudicatory system as a bedrock for any civilised society, Prof. Akande said there was the need to constantly equip judicial officers with the requisite skills for effectual adjudication, especially in the digitised world, where the rate if technology development t is fast ahead of laws.

I this submission at the workshop, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, also stated that the Internet comes with several challenges; hence the need for Judges to be exposed to the benefits as well as the challenges associated with new technologies.

Danbatta said through the workshop, Judges would be exposed to disruptive technologies, the rights of data subjects, and jurisdictional issues in the digital age, which have continued to make the ICT industry a dynamic one.

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The EVC/CEO of the Commission also stated: “The increased reliance on telecommunications, as well as the growth experienced in the sector, has introduced some issues of legal connotation, which will be deliberated upon by various experts during this workshop.

“One of such issues is the ownership of online content and materials.”

Need to meet the dynamics of changing times, by Danbatta

He further noted: “So, it is envisaged that with the increase in the amount of online content, as well as the economic value attached to it, there will be a rise in conflicts as to ownership of online content and materials.

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“It is necessary that your lordships are well prepared for the imminent increase in litigation in this area.

“Furthermore, with an increase in the number of transactions and businesses taking place in the online space, it is also expedient for your lordships to be exposed to the peculiarities of adjudicating conflicts in this era of digital presence and online identity.’

“The Commission conceived the idea of the forum as part of its strategic partnership and collaboration to further build the capacity of the distinguished Judges with practical insights into these emerging issues in the field of telecommunications, said Danbatta.

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The NCC Chief as well stated: “Hopefully, this workshop will illuminate these challenges and proffer ways to meet the dynamics of the changing times.

“I, therefore, enjoin you to freely make contributions and raise issues that would assist the commission in coming up with adequate regulatory measures that would enhance development in the communications sector of the economy.

“We assure you that every view expressed would be respected and considered in this regard.”

Judiciary committed to application of technology –Justice Ariwoola

In his submission at the forum, Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), commended the Commission for the annual forum.

The CJN assured the telecoms regulatory Commission of the commitment of the Nigerian Judiciary to using technology for justice dispensation as well as support a more robust legal ecosystem for sustaining socio-economic growth of Nigeria through telecoms sector.

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Represented by Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Justice of the Supreme Court (JSC), Ariwoola affirmed through the use of ICT, the country’s Judiciary had improved, not just in judicial administration and services, but also in infrastructural development.

The CJN said regardless of the benefits of digitalisation, there are bound to be liabilities and risks involved with its introduction and usage.

He highlighted such risks to include cybercrime, data piracy, and hacking among several other vices.

Challenges of justice dispensation in Nigeria

Ariwoola also said: “Our judicial system has been challenged with delays in dispensing justice.

“However, with the introduction of ICT into the judicial space, many of the difficulties associated with the conventional methods are gradually being dispensed with.”

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According to him, the path to effective and efficient justice delivery in the West African country lies in the collective ability to continuously improve the Nigerian Justice sector with the use of ICT tools.

“The Nigerian Judiciary is committed to achieving lasting structural and ethical reforms that would reposition it to adequately meet the aspirations of court users and the public for the reliable, effective and efficient administration of justice through the use of ICT,” said Ariwoola.

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