From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri recorded another feat on Wednesday, as he led top judicial officers and government functionaries to launch the first launch electronic court filing system in Nigeria.
The project which is one of the legacies the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri would be leaving as she retires from the bench is expected to quicken the process of litigation and administration of justice in the state.
Diri, who launched the new filing system while inaugurating the remodelled State High Court complex at Onopa, Yenagoa named after the pioneer Chief Judge of the state, late Justice Koripamo David Ungbuku congratulated Abiri, for the construction and completion of the project in record time.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted Diri as noting that the electronic filing of documents and work-based access to court materials had become commonplace in many developed jurisdictions around the world.
He lauded Justice Abiri for outstanding 13 years of service as head of the state’s judiciary, adding that the impressive new structure with its modern design is a mark of how much the state judiciary has progressed under her watch.
Diri also seized the opportunity to commend the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zana, for assisting the Bayelsa judiciary achieve the feat towards enhancing the speedy administration of justice.
The governor 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.
“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 the 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 in the judiciary of Bayelsa State.”
In her remarks, Justice Abiri expressed gratitude to Senator Diri 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, and 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 utilize it will win the National Judicial Council prize.