Godwin Tsa, Abuja
In the face of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court, yesterday, announced plans to deploy technology in handling the backlog of appeals before it.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Muhammed Tanko, had ordered the temporary suspension of court proceedings across the country as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The apex court in a statement by the Director of Press and Information, Dr. Festus Akande, said the move is aimed at leveraging on emerging options at the court’s disposal to deliver on its mandate so that the justice sector does not suffer any major setback before the resumption of normal court sittings.
“There is need to reiterate our initial position that in view of the current lockdown of most states of the federation and the FCT, as a result of the ravaging global coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court has started upgrading its Information Technology facilities with a view to holding virtual proceedings within the shortest possible time. Even with the lockdown, the court has been sitting and giving judgments, particularly for cases that are time-bound.
“The virtual meeting of the National Judicial Council on Wednesday and Thursday, April 22 and 23, 2020, is part of the modern technological platforms being enthroned by the Nigerian judiciary and we hope to leverage on the emerging options at our disposal to deliver on our mandate so that the justice sector does not suffer any major setback even before we resume our normal life,” Akande said.
On the report that the legal e-mail platform of the Supreme Court had been abandoned, the apex court’s spokesman, who noted that the report was made in bad fate, said the legal e-mail of the Supreme Court has been fully functional since its inauguration in 2018 and serving the purpose for which it was created.
Akande said the apex court only deployed manual method of service in the backlog of appeals filed before 2018 when the e-court system was inaugurated, adding that many lawyers had not yet registered on the platform.
He said this left the court with no option at the moment than to manually serve the respective chambers and also by sending text messages to their mobile phones in the interim.