Nigerian Communications Commission NCC has organized a workshop for Judges on Legal and Regulatory Issues in Telecommunications.
This is connected to the increase in the amount of online content including business transactions, social media platforms which has brought about rise in conflicts and litigations as to ownership of online contents and anonymous defamations.
In an opening remark in Lagos the Executive Vice-chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta said it was important to accquaint the Lordships on disruptive technologies, rights of data subjects and jurisdictional issues in the digital age and fertilise conversations on intellectual property, evolving dispute resolution mechanisms and legal liabilities in a digitalised world with pervasive internet connectivity.
The EVC said the Nigerian Communications Commission has been driving the government quest for a digital economy that will support national development and economic diversification and the drive has led to Broadband penetration in the country increasing by 91.70 per cent in the last four years adding that the current broadband penetration as at June this year stands at 44.30% with more than eighty-four million internet subscriptions in the Country.
Professor Danbatta pointed out that these strides were the outcomes of the Commission’s regulatory management of the Industry and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government.
He said the economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people across the globe have become increasingly reliant on telecommunications for information, meeting, social distancing restrictions and working from home and this has become clear that the connectivity of people being driven by the Commission is one of the key factors that facilitated Nigeria’s successful navigation of the disruptions caused by this historic pandemic.
And as emerging technologies are coming with benefits and they are also coming up with challenges which brought about litigations and it is the responsibility of the telecom regulator to manage the challenges therefore it was imminent to educate the judges who are the ones dispensing justice .
Declaring the workshop open the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, commended the Commission for the annual forum while assuring the telecom regulatory of the commitment of the judiciary to using technology for justice dispensation as well as support a more robust legal ecosystem for sustaining socio-economic growth of Nigeria through telecoms sector.
Represented by Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Ariwoola said, through the use of ICT, the judiciary has improved, not just in judicial administration and services, but also in infrastructural development.
Ariwoola said regardless of the benefits of digitalisation there are bound to be liabilities and risks involved with its introduction and usage as she highlighted such risks to include Cyber Crime, data piracy, and hacking among several other vices.
“Our judicial system has been challenged with delays in dispensing justice. However, with the introduction of ICT into the judicial space, many of the difficulties associated with the conventional methods are gradually being dispensed with,” he said.
The Chief Justice said the path to effective and efficient justice delivery in Nigeria lies in the collective ability to continuously improve the nation’s justice sector with the use of ICT tools. “The Nigerian judiciary is committed to achieving lasting structural and ethical reforms that would reposition it to adequately meet the aspirations of court users and the public for the reliable, effective and efficient administration of justice through the use of ICT,” he said.