The President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, Justice Benedict Kanyip, said on Monday in Abuja that the court disposed of 1, 486 cases in the out gone 2019 to 2020 legal year.
Mr Kanyip made this known at a ceremony to mark the beginning of the new 2020 to 2021 legal year.
He said that the figure was understandable as 627 cases were disposed of in the fourth quarter of 2019, while in the first quarter of 2020, a total number of 619 were disposed.
Mr Kanyip said the figure however, dropped to 240 in the second quarter of 2020, the period in which the Covid-19 lockdown was most severe, according to him.
The president in addition said that in all, between October 2019 and June, 2020, 1,486 cases were disposed of.
He said this earned the court the annual vacation as the court worked even during the trying times of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“As at March 13, the court had 6,596 cases in its docket across the country with Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan leading in that order.
”Today, the total number of cased that are pending are 6095. This means that 501 cases were disposed of between March 13 and Sept. 30, 2020.
”COVID-19 did not allow for much filing of cases, but it did not stop the court from sitting and disposing of cases.
”The Judges of the court, in line with the Practice Directions and Guidelines 2020, sat physically and virtually all through the COVID-19 lockdown and took the opportunity to dispose of especially cases that were at address and judgment stages,” he said.
Mr Kanyip further said one of the things that stood out the court was in its regular and consistent uploads and updates of its judgments and rulings on its website.
”As accessed on Oct.3, between Oct. 1,2019 to Oct.2, 724 judgments and 215 rulings were uploaded on our website, this is a fact that has received favourable reviews from commentators”.
Speaking, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, urged the NICN to continue to upheld its sanctity and credibility in order to foster the public confidence in all judgments that emanated from it.
The AGF who was represented by Dayo Apata, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, congratulated the court for rising above the limitation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic by the use of the virtual platforms in conducting court proceedings.
He said these platforms had helped the court to put in place measures that had guaranteed continued access to justice.
According to him, ”these measures has given expeditious disposal of cases, as well as minimize the rate of transmission of the dreaded COVID-19 during the period of the pandemic”.
Also speaker, Abdullahi Ibrahim, SAN, on behalf of Senior Advocates of Nigeria ( BOSAN), congratulated the president and judges of NICN, for overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19.
Mr Ibrahim who was represented by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, said: “we thank God that after the ravaging wind, you have counted and your team is intact, to the glory of God.
”We wish your Lordships good health and wisdom to do justice to all manner of men, persons and authorities who approach the court for justice”, he said.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that another speaker at the ceremony was Olumide Akpata, the president, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, who was represented by Afam Osigwe.