The Federal Government (FG) in collaboration with the Japanese government and United Nations Development Project (UNDP) on Monday launched virtual court programmes in Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) facilities nationwide. Speaking at the launch of the pilot programme at the Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said the programme would ensure quick dispensation of justice while also decongesting correctional facilities nationwide.
The virtual court programme would allow courts to hear cases without the need to physically transport inmates to court locations which would also, reduce administrative and operational costs.
Malami said, “It would also eliminate the issue of difficulties in conveying the inmates to court and would further ensure the safety and security of the inmates and law enforcement officers. We are no longer constrained by mobility, space and time in the justice delivery on account of accommodation of the virtual court sitting facilities and deployment of incidental technology.
“Notably, our justice system is founded on the constitutional principle of fundamental rights to fair hearing that requires the court to hear and determine cases in public and the physical presence of the suspects or parties in court.”
According to him, the virtual court proceeding is in accordance with the constitution and are not private hearings but will be open to the respective counsel involved, the inmates and members of the public.