Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has asked the judiciary to make contributions towards improving the communications sector.
Danbatta spoke at a workshop for judges on legal issues in telecommunications on Tuesday in Lagos.
The workshop themed; “the digital world and the future of adjudication”, had in attendance judges from the federal and state high courts, and appeal courts.
Danbatta said the internet comes with several challenges, hence the need for judges to be exposed to the benefits as well as the challenges associated with new technologies.
He also said through the workshop judges will be exposed to disruptive technologies, the rights of data subjects, and jurisdictional issues in the digital age.
“The increased reliance on telecommunications, as well as the growth experienced in the sector, has introduced some issues of legal connotation which will be deliberated upon by various experts during this workshop,” he said.
“One of such is the ownership of online content and materials. It is envisaged that with the increase in the amount of online content, as well as the economic value attached to it, there will be a rise in conflicts as to ownership of online content and materials.
“It is necessary that your lordships are well prepared for the imminent increase in litigation in this area. Furthermore, with an increase in the number of transactions and businesses taking place in the online space, it is also expedient for your lordships to be exposed to the peculiarities of adjudicating conflicts in this era of digital presence and online identity.
“This forum aims to further build the capacity of our distinguished judges with practical insights on these emerging issues in the field of telecommunications.
“Hopefully, this workshop will illuminate these challenges and proffer ways to meet the dynamics of the changing times.”
Danbatta also urged judges to come up with contributions that would help in the development of the country’s communications sector.
“I enjoin you to freely make contributions and raise issues that would assist the commission in coming up with adequate regulatory measures that would enhance development in the communications sector of the economy. We assure you that every view expressed would be respected and considered in this regard,” he said.
On his part, Olukayode Ariwoola, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), said the judiciary was committed to using technology for justice dispensation.
Ariwoola represented by Kudirat Olatokunbo, justice of the supreme court of Nigeria, said through the use of information communication technology (ICT), the judiciary has improved, not just in judicial administration and services, but also in infrastructural development.
“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 path to effective and efficient justice delivery in Nigeria lies in our ability to continuously improve our 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.
“Indeed, no effort was spared in the selection of the best technology solutions and implementation partners as only the best is good enough for the Nigerian judiciary and the legal profession as a whole.”