Lawyers and rights activists have continued to call for improved justice administration as Nigeria attains 60 years of independence.
They assessed the performance of the judiciary in the past 60 years, saying that the justice system had not been impressive in recent times.
The Nigerians told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the country would need to adopt measures including deployment of necessary technologies to improve justice administration.
Rights activist and lawyer, Mr Kabir Akingbolu, said that the judicial arm had not responded adequately to the demands of technology.
“The inability to align with the revolution is not helpful,” he said.
Akingbolu remarked that Nigeria’s justice system was one of the most overworked systems.
“In fairness to our judges, they have been overworked and unnecessarily subjected to tortious proceedings.
” They still write in long hands and sit in unconducive environments,” he said.
He also called for independence of the judiciary for greater efficiency.
The lawyer added that financial autonomy for the judiciary would enable it to bring about turnarounds to align with world standards.
“The facilities are too poor.
“Imagine our courts still talking of paper and documentary evidence being in hard copies, leading to filing mountain of papers and exhibits.
“In our courts today, litigants are still required to file volumes of documents, especially at appellate level, and this has made litigation very expensive,” he said.
Akingbolu urged that the judiciary should start to explore paperless litigation which, he said, was gaining grounds across countries.
Another lawyer, Mr Olakunle Fapohunda said: “The Constitution provides that remuneration of judicial officers should come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“This will improve efficiency.”
He called on judical officers to avoid corruption and any other thing that could tamper with the integrity of courts.
Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, a Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, urged the judiciary to do more to improve justice delivery.
He said that bribery, corruption, nepotism, favouritism and mediocrity should be avoided because they would destroy the integrity of the judiciary.
He said: “Administration of justice cannot be discussed without evaluating the state of the Nigerian judiciary.
“Nigerian Judiciary till date is not financially independent from the executive arm.
“The National Judicial Council and the Federal judicial Service Commision should discharge their duties better.
“Going forward, collective efforts of sincere and qualified individuals will definitely make a difference,” he said.
Mr Adeyemi Abijo, Lead Partner, LegalHub Partnership, Ikeja, told NAN that years of military rule was a challenge to the nation’s judiciary
“Justice administration cannot be an isolated area; other things affecting human existence have to be put in context to achieve justice.
“A lot people do not have access to court; when they eventually do, they spend a lot of time; it jeopardises the ultimate aim,” he told NAN.
He noted that justice delayed would be justice denied.
“To make headway, judicial matters should be discussed and given continual review.
“Also, the citizens need to be better informed about their rights and access to justice,” he added. (NAN)