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courtThe Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has over the weekend said the judiciary has been quick to properly position itself to meet the challenges posed by the dynamics of the digital age.
The Deputy Governor (Operations) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Suleiman Barau led some members of the Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) paid a courtesy visit to the CJN as the head of Judiciary Arm of Government.
The visit, according to Barau was in anticipation of increase in electronic fraud attempts with imminent increase in electronic payments in the country following the take-off of the then ‘’Cash-less Lagos’’ pilot project.
While Justices Walter Onnoghen and Clara Bata Ogunbiyi joined the CJN to receive Barau who was accompanied by Mr Dipo Fatokun, Mrs Tokunbo Martins, Mr Amusa Ogundana, Biyi Dosumu, Mr B.H.Ibrahim from the CBN, and Mr David Isiawe from Union Bank of Nigeria PLC.
The CJN told the group that as a matter of principle, the Judiciary gives priority to fraud or criminal cases especially those brought on appeal to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
The problem associated with adjudication of criminal cases, the CJN noted is not mainly in the courts, but outside of it. ‘’It is in the investigation, collection of evidence, presentation of the cases and trial’’.
‘’Judiciary is like a builder, and works with materials that are brought to it. As such the materials necessary for construction must measure up to standard in order to be applied by the courts. Court cannot carry out investigation and our security agencies must be encouraged to carry out investigation-led arrest and not arrested-led investigation’’.
The CJN further counseled that once suspects are charged to courts, there should not be too many counts of offences (charges) as each count charge requires a witness or more. ‘’In some cases up to 200 count charge are brought before the court which is a waste of court’s time and makes mockery of the constitution and the laws’’.
Most Superior Courts in the Country, including the Supreme Court, the CJN said have likewise enacted Practice Directions on Serious Crimes including Money Laundering and Fraud, which should see cases being fast tracked for trial and determination
‘’I wish to assure the Forum that the Judiciary will stand with the Banker’s Committee in providing an effective solution to electronic fraud and other ancillary issues. Indeed, it is our hope that soon Nigeria will become a major destination for the movement of capital and investment’’, the CJN added
The CBN deputy governor stated that; ‘’given the importance of providing secure payment systems, whilst ensuring public confidence in electronic means of payment, the role of proactive fraud management could not be overemphasized. It was in this context and leveraging on lessons learnt from past experience (e.g. ATM magnetic stripe card frauds) that the Nigeria e-Fraud Forum wasd established’’.
Barau disclosed that the Payment System industry losses have grown to over 4 Billion naira which give credence to the fact that e-fraud has become an industry of its own. The Forum he said recognizes the role of the Judiciary as strategic partners in stemming e-fraud.
The CBN requested for the setting up of dedicated courts that will specifically adjudicate on Banking and financial matters. The apex bank will also contribute its quota in deepening capacity of the judges that would preside over the special courts.


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