The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has said the judiciary is open to initiatives aimed at improving and strengthening the capacity of judicial officers in the handling of cases on emerging crime trends in the country.
The CJN made the request at the weekend while playing host to a visiting delegation of US officials led by the ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Mary Beth Leonard.
Some of those emerging crimes, the CJN said include cybercrime, cross-jurisdictional infringement of Intellectual property rights, and cases related to cybersecurity and espionage.
The CJN added that judges in the country require training on block technology and online dispute resolution as it affects e-commerce which is becoming a challenge due to inadequate awareness of technology and technical abilities and capacity.
He requested workshops that would border on Copyright Law in the new digital environment for judicial officers and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards relating to intellectual property disputes.
‘’Capacity building for our judicial officers is our priority, while the development of the capacity of our research assistants and other staff of the National Judicial Institute, who are fully involved in these training programmes, is also very important.
‘’Your Excellency, without taking the cat out of your bag, I want to assure you that our doors are always wide open to welcome proposals that will be beneficial to the development of the Rule of Law and the overall growth of the Judiciary of this country.
“The National Judicial Institute will never relent in its efforts to serve as the principal focal point of judicial activities on issues relating to the promotion of efficiency, uniformity, and improvement in the quality of judicial services in our courts’’, the CJN stated.
The U.S. Ambassador said, “this courtesy call is an opportunity to encourage the Nigerian Judiciary to continue collaborating with the United States Mission, including in raising the profile of intellectual property (IP) protection which is essential for Nigeria’s development and international partnerships’’.
She said the US is looking to increase its capacity building engagement on cybersecurity issues, adding that her country is interested in continued collaboration with the judiciary and courts through its International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Office (INL) and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT).
Ms. Leonard hinted that the U.S. was exploring how best to support Nigeria’s judicial processes during the 2023 elections.
The justices of the Supreme Court, who accompanied the CJN to receive the U.S. delegation are Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Inyang John Okoro, Amina Adamu Augie, Ejembi Eko, Uwani Musa Abba-Aji, M.L.Garba, Helen Ogunwumiju, Abdu Aboki, Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel A. Agim.
Others are the Administrator of NJI, Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi, President of National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, Secretary of National Judicial Council, Ahmed Gambo Sale, NJI Secretary, Abubakar Maidama and the Acting Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Barr Hajio Sarki Bello.