Bayelsa launches Nigeria’s first electronic filing court

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The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, on Wednesday, formally launched the state’s electronic court filing system, established to quicken the process of litigation and administration of justice in the state.

He launched the new filing system while inaugurating the remodelled State High Court complex at Onopa, Yenagoa, which was reconstructed and named after the pioneer Chief Judge of the state, late Justice Koripamo David Ungbuku.

Diri congratulated the state’s retiring Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, for the construction and completion of the project in record time.

He said that the electronic filing of documents and work-based access to court materials had become commonplace in many developed jurisdictions around the world.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, lauded Justice Abiri for outstanding 13 years of service as head of the state’s judiciary.

He said the impressive new structure with its modern design was a mark of how much the state judiciary has progressed under her watch.

He also commended the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zana, for assisting the Bayelsa judiciary achieve the feat towards enhancing the speedy administration of justice.

Diri said it was fitting that the remodelled court complex was named after Justice Ungbuku, describing the gesture as a mark of honour to the late jurist who served the state meritoriously.

He said, “I like to commend Justice Abiri for working with the executive arm of government to deliver good governance. Our prosperity administration views the judiciary as an important pillar of our democracy. And that is why we have continued to give other arms of government their dues without hindrance. What we see today is the outcome of that cordial working relationship.

“This edifice is named after late Justice Ungbuku. I see this as an act of remembrance and honour to those who have served our state. Justice Ungbuku is actually one of our heroes past in the judiciary of Bayelsa State.”

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He also commended the local contractor, Engr. Iniebi Warikoru, for delivering an impressive job and recommended him to the state Ministries of Works and Housing and Urban Development.

In her remarks, Justice Kate Abiri expressed gratitude to the governor for his administration’s support, particularly the prompt release of funds for capital projects in the judiciary.

The chief judge said benefits of the electronic filing process cannot be over-emphasized, noting that members of the Bar and Bench were ready to embrace the technology as training was already ongoing.

Abiri, who also unveiled the practice direction at the event, explained that remodelling of the complex, which originally had two court halls and 24 offices, was concluded within six months, equipped with additional two new court halls and 12 offices.

Also speaking, the Borno State Chief Judge, Justice Kashim Zana, said with the electronic filing technology in place, wherever there is internet connectivity, lawyers can file their cases anywhere in the world to aid quick dispensation of justice.

Justice Zana also announced that the first lawyer to utilise it would win the National Judicial Council prize.

The first son of the late Justice Ungbuku, Owendu Ungbuku, expressed appreciation to the governor and Abiri for the honour done to his father who, he noted, served the state judiciary for six years after being the Rivers State Chief Judge for four years.

Goodwill messages were also delivered by the state chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ukunbiriowei Saiyou, Larry Selekeowei, and Thompson Okpoko.

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