Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo noted on Thursday that the teleconferencing application, Zoom, was inadequate for the conduct of effective virtual court proceedings.
The Vice-President said, though Zoom has its own advantages, it is not completely suitable for virtual court proceedings, because a lot of documents and evidence would need to be examined during hearings.
Osinbajo, who delivered a keynote address via Zoom during the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria’s 2020 national virtual town hall meeting, advised lawyers in the country to be technology savvy.
Osinbajo spoke on the topic, ‘Building The Right Mindset For A Better Nigeria Post Covid-19’, a 21st-century lawyer must be interdisciplinary, multi-tasking and digitally strong.
He noted that the coronavirus global pandemic has necessitated reduction of human contact.
The Supreme Court had, mid-July, ruled that virtual court sitting was not unconstitutional.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, pronounced that the various practice directions issued by heads of courts, allowing remote hearing in deserving cases, “enjoy the presumption of regularity.”
Osinbajo noted that the need to be innovative and explore the opportunities in the pandemic has become pressing.
TVice President, who challenged young lawyers to embrace innovation, added that “The Supreme Court has recently endorsed virtual court proceedings which I think is a major revolution because it means that there will be plenty of opportunities for the new technologies adapted to the dynamics of the courtroom.
Today, we can now share documents on Zoom but for courtrooms and practice, you need more nimble technology to tender documents or to cross-examine a witness from a remote location.
“So, Zoom will not be the best technology for court proceedings although it is being used now, it is not the best technology because sometimes you have a bundle of documents to tender and that may be difficult.
“So, there is room there for innovative technology that will be suitable for using the courtroom.
“And I know that there are so many ideas that people are coming up with but we also have to think that through.”
The Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata (SAN), who represented the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the Federal Government was working on the right legislation to end the menace of rape in the country.
LAWSAN’s National President, Emmanuel Nwobodo, agreed with Osinbajo and added that young lawyers “thought it imperative to move beyond lamenting and bleating about the problems to carving out solutions because we believe light shines brighter in darkness and we can still squeeze out greatness for ourselves and our nation even with the problems we face.”