The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said that the Judiciary is open to initiatives aimed at improving and strengthening the capacity of its officers in the handling of cases on emerging crime trends in the country.
Muhammad made the declaration when he hosted a delegation led by Mary Leonard, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.
Ahakura Isah, the Senior Special Assistant on Media, quoted the CJN as saying some of those emerging crimes include cybercrime, cross-jurisdictional infringement of Intellectual property rights and cases related to cybersecurity and espionage.
He added that judges in the country require training on block technology and online dispute resolution as it affects e-commerce which is becoming a challenge due to inadequate awareness of technology and technical abilities and capacity.
He requested for workshops that would border on Copyright Law in the new digital environment for judicial officers and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards relating to intellectual property disputes.
Muhammad said: “Capacity building for our judicial officers is our priority, while the development of the capacity of our Research Assistants and other staff of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) who are fully involved in these training programmes, is also very important.
“I want to assure you that our doors are always wide open to welcome proposals that will be beneficial to the development of the Rule of Law and the overall growth of the Judiciary in Nigeria.
“The NJI will never relent in its efforts to serve as the principal focal point of judicial activities on issues relating to the promotion of efficiency, uniformity and improvement in the quality of judicial services in our courts.”
Leonard, while responding, said the visit was an opportunity to encourage the Nigerian Judiciary to continue collaborating with the United States Mission in raising the profile of intellectual property protection, which is essential for Nigeria’s development and international partnerships.
The US, she said, is looking to increase its capacity-building engagement on cybersecurity issues, adding that her country is interested in continued collaboration with the Judiciary and courts through its International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Office and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training.
She hinted that the US was exploring how best to support Nigeria’s judicial processes during the 2023 elections.
The Justices of the Supreme Court who accompanied the CJN to receive the delegation were Justices Olukayode Ariwoola, Inyang Okoro, Amina Augie, Ejembi Eko, Uwani Abba-Aji, M.L.Garba, H.M. Ogunwumiju, Abdu Aboki, Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel A. Agim.
Others were the Administrator of NJI, Justice Salisu Abdullahi; President of National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip; Secretary of National Judicial Council, Ahmed Gambo Sale; NJI Secretary, Abubakar Maidama; and the Acting Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hajio Sarki Bello.