Some lawyers in Lagos on Friday urged the judiciary to completely move away from paper documentation and fully embrace online data storage.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
They said that the recent burning of courts and its documents, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 lockdown have made it necessary for courts’ businesses to be conducted majorly online to ensure that its records are stored safely.
In his remarks, Mr Bayo Akinlade, told NAN that the E-filing system adopted by judiciary in Lagos over the years, would play a major role in recovering good number of documents after some courts were burnt by some hoodlums during the endsars protest.
Akinlade, a former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch, said that parties involved in some of the cases would also play major role in recovering certain documents by making their own copies available to the courts.
“It is not entirely an issue to recover some courts documents.
“Photocopies of the certified true copies of documents which have been tendered in evidence, can be recovered from the parties to the suits.
“What is really an issue at this point is the efficiency of the judiciary to work, being that the judiciary has been under funded over the years and these are creating bottle necks.
“The judiciary should, however, strictly consider having documentations and other courts businesses done electronically, considering all that had happened this year, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Another lawyer, Mr Ogedi Ogu, a partner at The Source Chambers, Ajao Estate, Lagos, expressed sadness over the mayhem unleashed at the courts by sone hoodlums, d saying that the damage would remain unquantifiable.
Ogu, however, said the nation’s adjudicatory system should be digitalised to correspond with the practices of other modern countries’ judicial system.
According to him, though, the Lagos judiciary has attempted to digitalise its adjudicatory system, it was still work in progress before the mayhem was unleashed.
“It will take time for the judiciary to recover from the rude shock.
“Some pending cases where original documents have been tendered as exhibits may pose some difficulty to continue the trial.
“Also, some judge’s notes, where no certified true copy has been made before the inferno, will also set such cases back. It is so sad,” Ogu said.
Also, Mr Kingsley Usiagu, an Associate lawyer at CLP Legal, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi in Lagos, said the burning of court records was a setback for the judicial system.
Usiagu said it showed the perception of the common man on the streets about the judiciary.
“The Nigeria’s judicial system has twice in a year seen the need for a fast adoption of technology to court proceedings.
“First it was COVID-19, and now the burning of the courts’ physical records.
“I believe strongly that the lessons are glaring and that the leadership of the courts will take quick and urgent steps to bring our judicial system in line with the current realities,” Usiagu said.
Contributing, Mr Leonie Anyika, an Associate lawyer at CLP Legal, Ikoyi, Lagos, told NAN that the burning of courts would cripple the justice system, which was already handicapped by various other challenges.
Anyika said, “there is greater need for the use of technology in all the courts’ proceedings to reap the advantages it proffers in the judicial system.”
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye