By G9ija

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has appealed to judges in the country to be more technology savvy to enhance justice delivery especially in the evolving financial services sector.Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday at the 21st National Seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for Judges.Emefiele was represented at the event by Mr Kofo Salam-Alada, the Director, Legal Services Department of the bank.He said that a deep understanding of the demonstration of electronic/digital payment systems by judges would give comfort to foreign investors knowing that there would be certainty in dispute resolution, should the need arise.Emefiele said the CBN was leveraging technology in its regulatory activities by employing regulatory technologies (RegTech), establishing regulatory sandbox and building capacity in all areas.“ The entrance of financial technology (Fintech) into the banking system world over has made it overly essential for everyone to be abreast of what Fintech brings on board.“A judicial officer or law enforcement agent who is knowledgeable in relevant emerging innovation is at an advantage to apply the primary assignment.“The reality is that increasingly, the courts will be called upon to adjudicate on complex technologically driven transactions and relationships.“As such, a wide understanding of the scope of the law and utilisation of technological innovations by all will ultimately result in the delivery of better output,’’ he said.Dr Bayo Olugbemi, the President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that the subject of innovation in the administration of justice and banking operations had become very topical in recent times.Olugbemi appealed to judicial officers to pay attention to evasion of legal responsibilities by borrowers who had taken loans sourced from depositors’ funds.“It is not surprising that the tendency to evade legal responsibilities which borrowers have freely entered into by taking loans sourced from depositors’ funds have continued unabated.“What is perhaps surprising is the continued abuse of court processes by some of these delinquent customers to aid their unwholesome objectives.“Aside the well-known strategy to frustrate debt recovery efforts by employing different tactics to delay court proceedings.“There are now new efforts to convert loans ostensibly obtained for business purposes into foreign currency and exporting them to other countries,’’ he said.The Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Salisu Abdullahi, said the judiciary was an indispensable partner in ensuring stability of the financial system in the country.Abdullahi said the judiciary play a critical role in entrenching sustainable solution to the daunting legal challenges, especially in the financial services sector.“Judges must be imbued with a sense of serenity in addition to having necessary knowledge and skill to ensure efficient and timely disposition of cases which will in turn nurture a conducive environment for business and investment to thrive,’’ Abdullahi said.Mr Olumide Akpata, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said that banking relations had been altered by technology.Akpata commended the CIBN for the seminar which had been sustained since 21 years, noting that the theme was critical in ensuring qualitative justice delivery.Akpata said the NBA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CIBN to bring lawyers up to speed technogically.“The landscape is changing and those in charge of dispute resolution should be up to speed,’’ he disclosed.The two-day seminar with the theme “Strengthening the Quality of Judicial Systems and Banking Operations through Innovations”, was attended by judges from different states of the country.The seminar was organised by the CIBN in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute.