Nigerian judiciary noticeably started its operation in the year 1979 and since,
it has subjected itself to the habitual practice of both parties to a suit
being present physically for the hearing of the case which is at times
dangerous and expensive to maintain. It is dangerous and expensive in the sense
that processes are served physically at the last known abode of the defendant
or respondent as the case may be and the person served might not even be within
the jurisdiction of the court and he has to risk his life, take time that is
needed to attend to business or family issue to travel down to the jurisdiction
of the court.

practice of physical service of court processes and full appearance in court
continued since its inception the judiciary in the country till the outbreak of
the pandemic which hinted the judiciary that hearing of law suits could not go
on during the pandemic and some cases are left pending in court. The innocent are
left to suffer behind the bar for what they know nothing about at the mercy of
the virus. The judiciary has been, is and will forever be viewed as the last
resort for the masses but when cases are pending in court and the innocent are
kept behind the bar for what they did not do, then could it be said that the
judiciary is the last resort for the masses? No! truth be told, the virus is
easily transmitted amongst crowd and at court sittings, it will be transmitted
faster than we could think of, then it is time for the judiciary to wake up to
what they had been sleeping on since which is to welcome the advent of Internet
Court for the hearing of law suits. Court processes could be served using
WhatsApp, e-mail, telegram and any other electronic method which is far
credible than service at the last known of abode of the individual. But with
the look of things right now, I think the judiciary is just waiting for the
pandemic to be over and get back to its traditional way of hearing suits.

of the 2019/20 session of the Nigerian Law School did their examination from
January 10 to 17 2020 and the result was supposed to be released on the 29 of
February 2020 and the Call to Bar ceremony in March which was before the
breakout of the virus in the country. Students and parents were anxious of the
day, only to wake up to the news that the release date has been postponed till
the ending of March and the Call to Bar ceremony in July for some reasons best
known to the Body of Benchers, Council of Legal Education. Since the students
and the parents are at the mercies of the bodies, they accept the new dates and
keep hopes high towards the dates. Unfortunately on the date they were to release
the result, it was postponed again because the body could not meet to decide on
the result since the federal government had announce total lockdown in the
country and that there should not be any gathering more than fifty (50) people.
Now the release of the result is postponed indefinitely. The students are neither
lawyers nor Law students. Companies and establishments across the globe make use
of different online meeting platform like, Zoom, ezTalks Meetings, etc.
to discuss matters affecting their transactions with each other when they know
that meeting physically is not visible. Since the bodies in charge of
conducting examination for prospective Lawyers know that the meeting is crucial
to the release of the Bar Final result, the meeting could have been held making
use of other means to conduct the meeting. The question that comes to my mind
anytime that I think of the Bar Final result been hoarded is, peradventure the
lockdown continues till the ember months, is that how the students will be held
in the dark and not know their fate in the examination they studied so hard and
sat for? If the Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School can put
the present students on notice that the school will commence online classes,
why can’t the same body conduct their meeting online and approve the result? Will
the students continue to suffer what they know virtually nothing about?

is high time the Nigerian judiciary wake up to reality, brace up and try to
meet up the level of technology in the dispensation of justice in the country
and in the total carrying out of her duty. If Nigeria choose to continue in the
tradition way as it is used to, then of what use is technology if the judiciary
cannot embrace it? Members of the Bench and the Bar should be well equipped by
the Nigerian Judicial Council and Nigerian Bar Association for the members to
be prepared to welcome this new development. Reliable and fast internet services
should also be provided at the courtrooms across the country so that there
won’t be any breakage whenever internet court session is going on. If Nigerian
judiciary refuses to wake up from her slumber and brace up to meet with the
standard of other states, then justice will continue to be deprived of the
masses whose cases are delayed in court because NO ONE knows when the lockdown will be over and God forbid there is
an outbreak of another deadly disease than this. Will the courtroom to be shut
down forever or should the masses subject themselves to jungle justice?  WAKE UP!


Adebola Valentine, Ministry of Justice, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. 08108173996 or