Virtual Proceedings amid COVID-19: Lessons from Borno State Judiciary by Rapulu Nduka, Esq.

In the midst of gloom that has pervaded the entire world, there is a cheery piece of news from Borno State.

Following the shutdown of all spheres of economy and emasculation of several endeavors save for those categorized as essential services, the Judiciary has been in limbo.

Courts are not sitting as before. Though running skeletal proceedings where time bound applications are considered, the judicature is a shadow of its old self.

Bereft of its boisterous nature as lawyers representing litigants with diverse interest square off in court exploring the proverbial tricks in the book, the courts are now grave yard, an unusual state, a poignant debilitating consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Borno I must confess, has risen from the ashes of despondency to conduct virtual proceedings, a process that accommodates parties ventilating their grievances while deferring and averting running foul of the safety guidelines, which would have happened had they thronged the Court room.

Borno has shown the light that a process many thought is impossible is indeed a possibility. As the pandemic ensues there will be expected adoption of this modus operandi across the federation.

Obviously a herald of similar modus operandi, the Court of Appeal, Lagos State Judiciary are as reported sanctioning practice directions to accommodate the paradigm shift of extant analog system to electronic filing and consequently full blown E- proceedings.

It is curios that Covid-19 is ushering this fresh air advocated by stakeholders to revamp our limp snail paced justice administration.

Judges writing in long hands, absence of recorders to enable Judges concentrate, crowded court halls etc.

Maybe this is the time to usher a new dawn for the Judiciary.

Nigeria’s justice system like many sectors will definitely toe a new path post this pandemic.

Hopefully we will see it being a thing of the past, Judges writing in long hands, seamless electronic filing, courts running virtually twenty four hours daily, overcrowded court halls being a thing of the past etc.

Indeed it is expected that post Covid-19, it will be the talked about and dreamt new era for the Judiciary.

Dr. Nduka is a past Publicity Secretary and past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onitsha Branch


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