The Supreme Court of Nigeria received a fully renovated courtroom on Monday from the National Judicial Council (NJC), as part of measures to address the issue of a high degree of case congestion in the court.
The courtroom was inaugurated by Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, and it was outfitted with cutting-edge technology.
Justice Kashim Zannah, the Chief Judge of Borno State and Chairman of the Judiciary Information Technology, revealed that the converted courtroom is one of nine recently finished and technologically improved courtrooms across the nation.
According to Zannah, the NJC has given the Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, and National Industrial Court among other courts similar courtrooms.
“This is in furtherance of a key plank of the National Judicial Policy which creates for the Judiciary a Charter of Commitment “to promote and ensure the highest possible standard of qualitative justice delivery.”
“This is done by providing the latest audio-visual aids, recording, and technological advances system as obtainable in most western courts worldwide.
“This retrofitted court is a sharp departure from our regular courts in Nigeria where power cut is a common feature and the attendant sweltering heat; and in some cases, the bar and the bench will have to use the flashlight from their mobile devices to read when it’s dark.
“The courts are adequately provisioned with a power backup system such that you are unlikely to notice any power cut,”
The courts are designed with bespoke sound absorption acoustic panels to attenuate or eliminate all types of noise from entering the courtroom, this is to ensure clarity of spoken words in court, without echo and reverberations.
“We have a professional audio and video recording software solution that records from any type of source and enables full integration with court audio systems and court intranet.
It is flexible and scalable and equally reliable and robust. It captures all activities in the courtroom, with the capability for playback and direct reference to the recording by court officials, even remotely.
“This is protected by a world-class firewall and security system to avoid unwarranted access.
By incorporating ICT into court procedures in Nigeria, Justice Zannah explained that the renovated courtroom is a project of the National Judicial Council/JITPCO aimed at standardizing courtroom infrastructure across the country.
The courts are outfitted with all the equipment required to permit the appearance of defendants in prison as well as remotely located witnesses and attorneys.