#NBAAGC2019: Justice Ogbuanya Charges Judges to Embrace ICT Skills for Efficient Justice Delivery System

Hon. Justice Nelson Ogbuanya of the National Industrial Court has condemned the slow rate at which Judiciary adopt technology in Nigeria.

 

He made the remark whilst speaking on a panel discussion topic: ” LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY IN JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION, ISSUES & CHALLENGES,” at the ongoing 2019 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference, Victoria Island Lagos.

 

“We received technology late when others have left what we are introducing for something more advanced.” Justice Ogbuanya.

 

On why ICT should be adopted, he recommended that Judges should update their ICT skills and knowledge for efficient Justice delivery system.

 

Also speaking at the Conference, Hon. Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye of the Kogi state judiciary and author of the bestseller, Electronic Evidence in Nigeria, expressed his view on the legislative framework for admissibility of electronic evidence in Nigeria.

Justice Ajileye stressed that Judiciary cannot escape from the reality of the digital age as cases coming into the courts now take new forms and actions with a digital signature like computer forgery, digital theft, cybercrime, etc.

 

”As lawyers, we must understand these realities and know how to apply them in our practice.

 

”The judiciary initially resisted technology, as they harbored the most technophobic people as judges were trained to be conservatives, but the narrative is changing mainly because there was a legislative intervention through the enactment of Section 84 of Evidence Act 2011.

 

”Whether or not evidence generated from electronic devices was admissible within the framework of the old Evidence Act was highly contentious as there were many cases in the past where electronic evidence was rejected,” he stated.

 

His Lordship further said that there was also a restrictive definition of the document before, but today it is now used broadly. Hence, there are inadequacies in Section 84 of the Evidence Act.

 

”Our legislatures need to be proactive in enacting legislation and be alive to its responsibilities of enacting laws that reflect and match the advancement in technology”.

 

On the other hand, Dr. Akpabio expressed the view that everyone is a stakeholder in the administration of justice, citing the amendment made by the American Bar Association in 2012 to their rules, to the effect that a lawyer must be competent in delivering their service which includes ICT competency urged the Nigerian Legal System to adopt same.

 

On the advantages of using Technology in Justice Administration, a Senior Engineer at Conoil, Mr. Mike Mbon, stated that as technology is growing, so crime is also growing, hence the need for technology to apprehend criminals and also for justice administration.

 

Participants at the Conference inquired why some judges reject digital photo as evidence if not accompanied by a memory card.

 

In response, Hon. Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye stated that it is not a requirement for a digital photo to be rejected by a judge because there is no memory card accompanying it.

 

To him, this was the old knowledge the judges are using, as in the case of a photo accompanied by its negative, but has changed hence the lawyer needs to put up a strong defense in this regard.

 

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