The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) organized a workshop in Lagos, urging the nation’s judiciary to adapt to the impact of Information Communications Technology (ICT) on the justice system. The event brought together judges from federal and state high courts, as well as appeal courts, under the theme “The digital world and the future of adjudication.”
During the workshop, Prof. Adeolu Akande, the Chairman of the NCC Board of Commissioners, emphasized the importance of equipping judicial officers with the necessary skills for effective adjudication in an increasingly digitized world. He pointed out that technology development is advancing faster than laws, making it crucial for judges to stay updated and adapt accordingly.
Prof. Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the NCC, highlighted the need for judges to understand both the benefits and challenges associated with new technologies. Specifically, he mentioned the importance of addressing disruptive technologies, the rights of data subjects, and jurisdictional issues in the digital age. The rapid growth of the telecommunications sector has introduced legal complexities that require careful deliberation, such as determining ownership of online content and materials.
Danbatta stressed the significance of adjudicating conflicts arising in the digital space due to the increasing number of transactions and businesses conducted online. He explained that the NCC organized the workshop as part of its strategic partnership and collaboration with the judiciary to enhance the capacity of judges and provide them with practical insights into emerging telecommunications issues.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, commended the NCC for its annual forum, expressing the judiciary’s commitment to leveraging technology for justice dispensation and supporting a more robust legal ecosystem to sustain Nigeria’s socio-economic growth through the telecommunications sector. Ariwoola acknowledged that the introduction of ICT has significantly improved judicial administration, services, and infrastructural development.
However, the CJN cautioned that with digitalization come liabilities and risks, including cybercrime, data piracy, and hacking. Despite these challenges, Ariwoola acknowledged that ICT has helped overcome some of the difficulties associated with conventional methods, such as delays in dispensing justice. He emphasized the collective responsibility to continuously improve Nigeria’s justice sector by leveraging ICT tools for effective and efficient justice delivery.
The workshop provided a platform for judges to enhance their skills for adjudication in the digitized world. It underscored the importance of understanding the benefits and challenges posed by new technologies, while exposing judges to disruptive technologies, data subjects’ rights, and jurisdictional issues in the digital age. The event exemplified the strategic partnership between the NCC and the judiciary, aiming to equip judges with practical insights on emerging telecommunications issues.