The National Judicial Council (NJC) has delivered a retrofitted courtroom to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The retrofitted courtroom equipped with modern electronic gadgets is aimed at tackling Nigeria’s perennial problems of delay in adjudication of cases.
Delivering the courtroom to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, on Monday, the Chairman, Judiciary Information Technology, Kashim Zannah, said it is one of the nine recently completed technologically enhanced courtrooms across the country.
The courtrooms, Mr Zannah who is the Chief Judge of Borno State, said the courtroom was retrofitted with the latest cutting-edge technology to enhance justice administration in Nigeria.
“This is in furtherance of a key plank of the National Judicial Policy which creates for the judiciary a charter of commitment to promote and ensure the highest possible standard of qualitative justice delivery,” Mr Zannah said.
He explained the retrofitted courtroom is an initiative of the National Judicial Council/JITPCO towards standardisation 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 flash light from their mobile devices to read when it’s dark,” the Borno Chief Judge noted.
Mr Zannah’s thoughts echoes PREMIUM TIMES’ special report last year, which exposed how decaying court infrastructure in Abuja hampers efficient justice delivery.
Highlighting the benefits of the retrofitted courtrooms, Mr Zannah said, “The courts are adequately provisioned with power backup systems such that you are unlikely to notice any power cut.”
How the retrofitted courtrooms work
The courts are designed with bespoke sound absorption acoustic panels to 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,” Mr Zannah explained.
It is flexible and scalable and equally reliable and robust. It captures all activities in the courtroom, with 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 lawyers, witnesses, as well as defendants in correctional facilities.
Mr Zannah disclosed that lawyers can argue their cases from any part of the world without 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.
He revealed that similar courtrooms have been provided for the Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, National Industrial Court among others by the NJC.
Mr Zannah appealed to state governments to key into the new policy for the state judiciary.
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