Bayelsa State in Nigeria made history on Wednesday by launching its electronic court filing system, aimed at improving the speed and efficiency of the legal process and administration of justice in the state. Governor Douye Diri unveiled the new system during the inauguration of the newly remodeled State High Court complex in Onopa, Yenagoa. The complex has been named after the late pioneer Chief Judge of the state, Justice Koripamo David Ungbuku.
Governor Diri congratulated the retiring Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, for her role in the construction and completion of the project in a short period of time. He acknowledged that electronic filing of documents and work-based access to court materials have become a norm in many developed countries around the world. He also commended the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zana, for his assistance in helping the Bayelsa judiciary achieve this milestone in enhancing the speedy administration of justice.
Governor Diri stated that the impressive new structure with its modern design is a testament to the progress of the state judiciary under Justice Abiri’s leadership. He also noted that naming the remodeled court complex after Justice Ungbuku is a fitting tribute to the late jurist who served the state with distinction. The governor emphasized the importance of the judiciary as a vital pillar of democracy and the administration’s commitment to supporting all branches of government.
“I like to commend Justice Abiri for working with the executive arm of government to deliver good governance. Our Prosperity Administration views the judiciary as an important pillar of our democracy. And that is why we have continued to give other arms of government their dues without hindrance. What we see today is the outcome of that cordial working relationship.
“This edifice is named after late Justice Ungbuku. I see this as an act of remembrance and honour to those who have served our state. Justice Ungbuku is actually one of our heroes past in the judiciary of Bayelsa State.”Governor Douye Diri
During the inauguration of the newly remodeled State High Court complex in Onopa, Yenagoa, Governor Douye Diri also commended the local contractor, Engr. Iniebi Warikoru, for delivering an outstanding job and recommended him to the state Ministries of Works and Housing and Urban Development. The chief judge, Justice Kate Abiri expressed her gratitude to the governor for his administration’s support, especially the timely release of funds for capital projects in the judiciary.
Justice Abiri highlighted the numerous benefits of the electronic filing process and noted that members of the Bar and Bench were ready to embrace the technology as training was already ongoing. She also mentioned that the remodeling of the complex, which originally had two court halls and 24 offices, was completed within six months and now includes an additional two new court halls and 12 offices.
The Borno State Chief Judge, Justice Kashim Zana, also spoke at the event and said that with the electronic filing technology in place, lawyers can file their cases from anywhere in the world, as long as there is internet connectivity, to aid the quick dispensation of justice. He also announced that the first lawyer to utilize it will win the National Judicial Council prize.
The first son of the late Justice Ungbuku, Owendu Ungbuku, expressed his appreciation to the governor and Abiri for the honor done to his father, who he noted served the state judiciary for six years after being the Rivers State Chief Judge for four years. Goodwill messages were also delivered by the State Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Okunbiriowei Saiyo, Mr. Larry Selekeowei (SAN) and Thompson Okpoko (SAN).