Judiciary Restates Commitment to Speedy Adjudication of Telecoms Disputes

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Emma Okonji

The National Judicial Institute (NJI) has restated its resolve to speedy adjudication of legal issues relating to telecoms disputes in order to boost growth and sustainability in the telecoms sector.

The institute however said the judges need better understanding of the technicalities associated with telecommunications to be able to handle such telecoms disputes efficiently.

It commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for collaborating with the institute in organising a national workshop for Judges on legal issues in telecommunications.

Speaking at the workshop, which held in Lagos on Monday, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, Board of Governors of NJI, Mahmud Mohammed, who was represented by the Chairman, Education Committee at NJI, Justice Walter Onoughen, said the Judiciary remained steadfast as a great partner in the development of the telecommunications sector and the Nigerian economy through accurate interpretation and enforcement of the laws.

According to Mohammed, the workshop became important to address the challenges faced by the judiciary with new technologies and services, including traditional business models and concept of regulation. He said the workshop would reposition the judiciary for better justice delivery.

In her welcome address, the Administrator, National Judicial Institute, Justice Roseline Bozimo, commended the judges for attending the workshop, while highlighting the importance of the workshop to the judiciary. According to her “The fundamentals of effective regulation in every sector is not only limited to enactment of legislations alone, but also depends on the enforcement of the laws and regulations as well as a timely adjudication of disputes brought before the courts.

The telecommunications industry, being a technical and complex sector, requires judges who have special skills and knowledge to handle the industry related disputes for effective adjudication. This will go a long way in strengthening the telecoms regulation in Nigeria and sustain public confidence in the industry.”

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who commended the judiciary for its roles in nation building, called on the judges to ensure implementation of the nation’s Cybercrime Act 2015.

Danbatta said the implementation of the Act would ensure the reduction, if not eradication of cybercrime in the country.

According to him, implementation of the Cybercrime Act entails that the judiciary understands the law, so as to keep abreast of developments in the cyberspace, hence the annual workshop, which is in its 12 series, was organised.

“The knowledge of the law will ensure that grey areas in the Cybercrime Act are adequately addressed. The implementation of the Cybercrime law is domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), but the NCC played an important role in the articulation of the law. We have an important department of the commission: the New Media Information Security department, that played an active role by engaging the judicial arm of government to ensure implementation of the act,” Danbatta said.

The EVC said that the proliferation of e-payment systems following the federal government’s adoption of the cashless policy had led to a massive increase in mobile and online transactions in the last few years, which he said needed the attention of the judiciary.
He also said that the proliferation of e-payment systems also came with a resultant increase in financially related cybercrime, which he said, would be addressed at the workshop.

Danbatta said that cyber criminals continued to develop new strategies to circumvent cyber security models, regardless of their sophistication.
“We are hopeful that in the continuing course of implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015, cyber security will be strengthened in our country Nigeria,” Danbatta said.