By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, has called on governments to ensure that courts in the country use electronic recording system, and stop the usage of taking proceedings in long hand.
Oyetibo, while speaking with Vanguard Law and Human Rights at his new state-of-the-art law firm in Lekki, Lagos, noted that even the highest court in the country (Supreme Court), still write in long hand.
He said: “Those of us who have been in practice in this country for some years would readily agree that the machinery is slow, and there are quite a number of factors responsible for that. First, the courts are not, to me, well funded by the State.
”If you go round the courts in Nigeria, you will find out that almost in every state, judges still take proceedings in long hand in 2013. Why should that be so? Even in the highest court in Nigeria (Supreme Court), they still write in long hand. Even though we have filed written briefs, but in the course of oral arguments they take proceedings in long hand. That ought not to be so in year 2013, for God sake.”
The senior lawyer, who is the founder and Chief Counsel of Tayo Oyetibo & Co., stressed that one of the reasons for the slowness seen in the Administration of Justice is because judges take proceedings in long hand, instead of using electronic recording system.
”Our courts, by now, should have electronic recording system. There should be companies that would produce the transcript, as it is done in some other countries, and each litigant gets a copy of the proceedings on Compact disc (CD). The CD could be paid for by the litigants. It is public proceedings, everything should be electronically recorded.
”As a matter of fact, as soon as you file your processes, you should be able to pay for copies of the CD that would be made available to you, and the transcript at the end of the proceedings; so that within 24 hours or 48 hours, you should have a copy of the CD, backed by the official transcript that you then subsequently obtain. That should happen all through the hierarchy of courts in Nigeria.
”If you do that, it ensures transparency. Everything that you say in court is recorded. Whether it is said by the judge, a party or a counsel, it is on record. But the transcript would just be the official removing of unnecessary comments by the side. The CD would be mere recording, verbatim; everything that is said in court is contained in the CD. The transcript would be the official record that can then be certified and given out.
”That is what we should be doing in Nigeria in 2013, and it is not difficult. How much would a state invest in acquiring electronic recording gadgets to be able to do this? If you do that, we will be 50% away from this slowness in the Administration of Justice” Oyetibo added.