‘Increase in Reliance on Telecom, Sector Growth Bane of Legal Adjudication’

‘Increase in Reliance on Telecom, Sector Growth Bane of Legal Adjudication’

Emma Okonji

Experts in the telecom and judicial sectors of the Nigerian economy have traced the delays in adjudicating telecom matters to the exponential increase in the reliance on telecom solutions, and the growth of the sector, especially in the online space, insisting that the judiciary needs broader knowledge of the sector, to enable speedy adjudication and justice in all telecom matters.

The stakeholders who spoke on Tuesday at the 2022 annual workshop for judges on legal issues in telecommunication, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI), which held at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel, said there was need for better understanding of the diverse telecom sector, to enable speedy dispensation of justice in matters affecting the telecom sector.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the workshop became necessary, following the challenges in the telecom sector, that require the best legal interpretation from the judiciary. He said if the judges were better informed about the emerging technologies emanating daily from the telecom sector, the judges would be in a better position to dispense justice in all telecom matters, hence the need for the workshop, to equip judges with information about emerging technologies that will help deliver quality judgment.     

“The increased reliance on telecommunications, as well as the growth experienced in the sector has introduced some issues of legal connotation. 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,” Danbatta said.

Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof Adeolu Akande, said the judiciary would continue to play important role in all conflict resolutions in telecom matters and would spur the future of adjudication in Nigeria.

In his keynote address at the workshop, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Chairman Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who was represented by the Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, said: “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 reliable, effective and efficient administration of justice through the use of ICT.”

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