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Digital Revolution: NCC is a worthy telecoms regulator, says CJN

L-R: Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC; Justice Salisu Abdullahi, Administrator, National Judicial Institute; Justice Adamu Jauro, JSC; Prof. Umar Garba  Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC; Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, CJN; Justice Mohammad Lawal, JSC; and Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, During NCC’s 19th Annual Judges Workshop, in Kano, Kano State        Photo: NCC

*Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria, describes the Nigerian Communications Commission as a worthy telecoms regulator in the country for its ‘dedicated efforts at promoting awareness and knowledge of Information Communications Technology’ among the Judiciary in particular, and Nigerian digital consumers in general

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has pronounced the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) a worthy telecoms regulator  for its committed efforts at promoting awareness and knowledge of Information Communications Technology (ICT), among the Judiciary, and the Nigerian consumers at large.

The CJN who is the Chairman, Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), spoke in an opening remark at the 2023 Edition of NCC-hosted annual workshop for judges on telecommunications issues, which began Monday, September 18, 2023, in Kano State.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, noted Justice Ariwoola said that Information Technology and telecommunications services had surpassed the conventional method of court service delivery.

The CJN stated the use of the Internet is becoming a prominent feature of this era with innovative and interactive influences on the public, hence the crucial nature of the workshop for the Judicial officers.

ICT tools, Judiciary and justice delivery system in Nigeria, by Ariwoola

Speaking on the theme of the workshop, “The Adjudication Path in a Digital Era”, the Ariwoola said it was in accord with the current realities that judicial officers face technologies that have fundamentally transformed how they communicate, access information and conduct legal proceedings.

The CJN also explained: “We are obliged to embrace this transformation while ensuring that doing justice remains at the forefront of our efforts.”

The CJN and other Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court, Appeal Court, Federal High and States High Courts, and the NJI attended the workshop.

The NCC hosted the 2023 National Workshop for Justices and Judges on Legal Issues in Telecommunication Matters in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission Commission said Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Commission, earlier had welcomed the workshop participants with the information that the Nigerian Communications at Act (NCA) 2003, is currently undergoing a fundamental review to update its provisions.

The CJN further noted that the workshop presented a platform on which the challenges facing the judiciary by the digital revolution would be effectively discussed.

According to him, the workshop is also an opportunity to equip the Nigerian Judiciary with the necessary information to deal with the digital era.

Ariwoola noted: “It is also crucial to prioritise the examination of the convergence of data privacy and information security law.

“The enormous amount of data generated and collated in the digital realm raises critical questions regarding privacy, security, and the protection of individual rights.”

The Chief Justice stated: “As Judicial Officers, you are responsible for carefully assessing the legal implications of data collation, storage, and utilisation and by striking a harmonious balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding privacy, your Lordships would cultivate trust in the digital ecosystem while upholding individual right.”

NCC committed to deepening knowledge of digital future in Judiciary –Danbatta

Prof. Danbatta, in his welcome address at the forum, expressed gratitude to the CJN and the top echelon of the Judiciary for finding time to attend the workshop.

The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman pledged the Commission’s resolve to deepen knowledge of the digital future on the Judiciary as a very critical and indispensable arm of the Nigerian Government.

Danbatta future said the regulatory Commission is responsive to the rapid changes in the telecommunications and technology space.

According to him, the NCC has taken steps to start the review of its enabling legislation, the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA, 2003).

He, therefore, assured that industry stakeholders would get the opportunity to make inputs to the amendment.

On the importance of the workshop for Judicial officers, he remarked that the telecommunications sector had evolved since the NCA 2003 came into existence.

Hence, the need to be responsive in readiness to keep pace with the dynamics of technologies that will come, stated he.

The EVC/CEO noted that the workshop afforded the Commission an ample opportunity to engage the Judiciary on how to adopt digital technologies in advancing the course of justice.

“The communications sector, through infrastructure deployment, has continually ensured that the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government is established on a solid foundation.

“It has also proven to be the catalyst for entrenching the activities of both the public and private sectors in the digital space, seamlessly,” the EVC/CEO of NCC said.

He as well explained “however, we recognise that in any digital economy, the development of a complex web of commercial transactions and social interactions is inevitable. “Thus, to instill societal confidence in the digital economy, at least, two things are required: a safe and effective backbone infrastructure, as well as an efficient adjudicatory mechanism, which is easily accessible in the digital space.”

Danbatta disclosed the  reality had informed the NCC’s steadfast partnership with the NJI to develop capacity for judges in this area.

This, he stated, would ensure that the Court, being the last hope of the common man, is firmly woven into the fabric of the digital economy.

In an interview on the sidelines of the workshop, Danbatta further stated, “We have the Nigerian Communications Act, which established the NCC in 2003, more than 20 years ago.

“At one time, the Chief Justice of the Federation said this Act is anachronistic, which means it is old and therefore, has to be reviewed and I assured members of the judiciary that this review is going on as we speak.”

He equally stated: “At the appropriate time, members of the media will be invited to witness the public presentation of the reviewed NCC Act to an engagement forum with critical members of the industry as well as Nigerians, who subscribe to telecommunications services.

“They will have a say during the presentation of the reviewed Act to the Public.”

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