Malami Hosts Stakeholders’ Webinar on Post COVID-19 Judiciary

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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar
Malami, SAN on Thursday, hosted webinar/virtual interactive session with attorneys-general and heads of courts of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT)

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu,Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in Abuja and made available to Duaglobalnews, an online publication in Lokoja, kogi state.

In his keynote address at the session, Malami noted that in order to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Ministry had
improved on its ICT infrastructure to enable it carry out its duties effectively.

“The Ministry has completed the establishment of ICT Studios and the deployment of Galaxy Backbone dedicated lines that will facilitate the
prosecution of criminal cases as well as the defence of civil cases,using the virtual platform”.

“As the biggest Law Chamber in Nigeria and if not in Africa, the Federal Ministry of Justice must continue to lead the process of innovation in the administration of justice,”he said.

The Minister said to complement this effort, the Nigerian Correctional Service was also being engaged on establishment of Studios in the Correctional Centres to make it
possible for evidence of suspects in custody to be taken without their
physical presence in court.

” This will ensure that the administration
of justice is not disrupted,” he added.

Malami also noted that ICT was being introduced in the receipt and processing of correspondence between the Ministry and the general
public to further minimize the person-to-person contact between officials of the Ministry and members of the general public.

He reiterated the desire to work with stakeholders to articulate a holistic response to the challenges posed by the CoVID-19 pandemic to
the administration of justice in the country.

The Minister also emphasized that there was need for a paradigm shift in the administration of justice,through the deployment of appropriate technologies to drive the administration of justice.

He said the purpose of the virtual meeting was to provide the platform for engagement and articulation of our collective views on the issues arising from the CoVID-19 pandemic and harmonise “our resolutions on
the way forward.”

Malami said the advent of CoVID-19 and the efforts to manage its spread and reduce the human and economic devastation, occasioned by the
pandemic, had made it imperative to adopt systems that would reduce the
physical presence.

Same, he said, was for the involvement of persons in the judicial processes through the deployment of technology to achieve the same objective for
which physical presence was intended,” he said.

The Minister noted that the justice system wass founded on the constitutional principle of fundamental rights to fair hearing that required the court to hear and determine cases in public and the
physical presence of the suspects or parties in court.

He noted that in view of the COVID-19 situation, it had become imperative for the Government to put in place, legislations and policies that would engender a justice system for the promotion of
social/physical distancing, through the application of appropriate technologies in the dispensation of justice and the promotion of rule
of law.

He commended the Heads of Courts and Attorneys-General who had started the process of
deploying and applying virtual court rooms and proceedings to promote social distancing and minimize the physical presence of court users.

“However, there have been arguments as to whether the application of virtual court hearing meets the constitutional requirements of fair hearing.

“I am of the view that this meeting offers an opportunity for further discussion on the issue and a common position taken.

“This is without
prejudice to the ongoing deliberations in the National Assembly to amend section 36(2) & (3) of the Constitution. As stakeholders, we have a duty to ensure that the pandemic is not allowed to ground the
administration of justice machinery to a halt.

“We must continue to
forge the needed synergy and collaboration to administer justice in the face of the pandemic and in line with global best practice.”Malami added.

On measures to decongest Correctional Centres nation-wide, the Minister expressed appreciation that about 6,590 inmates had so far been released through the work
of the Presidential Committee on the decongestion of Correctional Centres and that of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative
of Mercy Committee.

The Minister said concerted efforts were being made by the Federal Government to strengthen judicial and democratic institutions for the
benefit of the people, a development he described as critical to the attainment
of the anti-corruption drive of the current administration and the overall improvement in the administration of justice.

Malami disclosed that the Federal Government had constituted Committees on Implementation of Directive on Designated Corruption
Prosecution Courts to actualize the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to Heads of Courts to designate specific courts for the prosecution of all corruption related cases with to fast-tracking their completion.

He informed the participants that the Federal Government had
established a Committee on the Review of Judicial Salaries and
Conditions of Service, principally to ensure that the welfare of judicial officers reflect current realities.

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3 thoughts on “Malami Hosts Stakeholders’ Webinar on Post COVID-19 Judiciary

  1. Authentic news platform indeed. Thank God there is one sincere Nigerian, a former official of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that set up Duaglobalnews. Weldone sir.

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