By Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja
Against the backdrop of of cases congestion plaguing the Nigeria’s courts, the National Judicial Council, (NJC) Monday in Abuja, delivered a fully retrofitted courtroom to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The move was aimed at quickening justice delivery to the populace.
The retrofitted courtroom is designed to ease the challenges militating against the speedy adjudication of cases in the country have since been commissioned by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
While delivering the court to the CJN, the Chairman, Judiciary Information Technology, Justice Kashim Zannah disclosed that the court is one of the nine recently completed technologically enhanced courtrooms across the country.
The courts, Justice Zannah said, have been retrofitted with the latest cutting-edge technology to enhance justice administration, towards providing Nigerians with the fast, transparent and accessible justice system they deserve.
NJC said, “This is to promote and ensure the highest possible standard of qualitative justice delivery.”
Explaining further, the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Zannah, explained that the retrofitted courtroom is an initiative of the National Judicial Council (JITPCO) towards the standardization of courtroom infrastructure nationwide by integrating ICT into court processes in Nigeria.
“This is done by providing the latest audio-visual aids, recording and technological advances system as obtainable in most Western courts worldwide.
“This retrofitted court is a sharp departure from our regular courts in Nigeria where power cut is a common feature and the attendant sweltering heat; and in some cases, the bar and the bench will have to use flashlight from their mobile devices to read when it’s dark.
“The courts are adequately provisioned with a power backup system such that you are unlikely to notice any power cut.
“The courts are designed with bespoke sound absorption acoustic panels to attenuate or completely eliminate all types of noise from entering the courtroom; this is to ensure clarity of spoken words in court, without echo and reverberations.
“We have a professional audio and video recording software solution that records from any type of source and enables full integration with court audio systems and court intranet.
“It is flexible and scalable and equally reliable and robust. It captures all activities in the courtroom, with the capability for playback and direct reference to the recording by court officials, even remotely.
“This is protected by a world-class firewall and security system to avoid unwarranted access.
The courts are equipped with all technology necessary to enable the appearance of remotely located counsels, witnesses, as well as defendants in correctional facilities,” she said.
With the court, Justice Zannah disclosed that lawyers can argue their cases from any part of the world without a physical appearance as being done at the moment.
The Chief Judge expressed optimism that the new efforts would not only ensure speedy justice delivery but would go a long way in decongesting and reducing the piled-up cases in courts.
Similar courtrooms according to him have been provided for the Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, National Industrial Court among others by the NJC, pleading with state governments to key into the new policy for the state judiciary.
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