Thursday, August 11, 2022

NITDA, NJI To Deploy IT For Efficient Social Justice

Abdullahi Kashifu
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said it is set to go into a partnership with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) to deploy information technology (IT) for efficient social justice delivery in Nigeria.

The director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, made this known when he received the NJI administrator, Hon Justice Salisu Garba, who led a delegation from the institute to NITDA’s headquarters in Abuja.

Abdullahi pointed out that the deployment of IT in Nigeria’s justice system would help to improve efficiency, especially, of court processes and curb actual or perceived corruption. He further proposed the training and retraining of judiciary officers to understand IT skills to help them attain maximum capacity and derive value from digital technology.

Abdullahi described the visit as “very important and apt”, saying the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes evaluations and decisions for humans based on available data and thus, makes it necessary for the judiciary to adopt the use of IT in its work processes.

“We live in a world where technology can be used to profile and make recommendations. It is, therefore, very important to incorporate the use of IT into our judiciary system for enhanced work performance,” he said.

The NITDA boss added that the appropriate deployment of IT in the judiciary will enable courts to deal better with the increased size of their caseloads, help in speedily clearing backlogs of cases and accomplish the research and planning tasks necessary for the proper administration of justice.

According to Abdullahi, to enjoy the benefits of digital technology in the country, judges need to have an in-depth understanding of digital literacy skills, a responsibility which falls on the shoulder of the NJI.

He further disclosed that, in line with the actualisation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the full introduction and implementation of digital transformation by the agency for all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been in top gear.

“We have set up digital transformation technical working groups in several MDAs while a few more will be inaugurated soon. Your institute can be brought aboard this laudable initiative and inaugurated as well if you are ready,” he assured.

Emphasising the importance of data protection, Abdullahi implored the visitors to include the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation in their curriculum and promised robust capacity-building support in that regard.

“Most of the sources we get our information from are now online and these big techs use artificial intelligence to know our preferences by gathering data. It is, therefore, important to ensure protection of our data, by all means,” he opined.

Abdullahi congratulated the institute’s newly appointed administrator and hoped that his wealth of experience would add value to the NJI and the nation’s judiciary. 

Earlier, Garba appreciated the DG and his team for the warm reception, described it as the beginning of the partnership between both organisations, as one of the objectives of the institute is to train all judicial officers and supporting staff.

He further stated that the institute’s Judiciary Information Technology Policy Committee, saddled with the responsibility of formulating policies, has been faced with challenges but reinstated his belief that information technology will bridge the gap.

“The essence of this meeting is to collaborate with NITDA to develop our IT skills, to build our workforce’s digital skills as well as develop virtual court proceedings and conferences to reduce our backlogs,” Garba concluded.

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