Lawyers urge courts to adopt public address system in conducting proceedings

By Femi Ogunshola/Aderogba George
Abuja –  As courts resume for the 2017/2018 legal year, some lawyers in Abuja on Tuesday urged the courts to adopt the use of public address system in conducting court proceedings.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) often conduct proceedings without the use of microphone which has consistently posed problem to litigants and journalists.

NAN reports that none of the seven courtrooms at the FCT Jabi High Courts conduct proceedings with microphone in spite of the huge crowd usually present during court sessions.

Mr Usman Muhammed, a legal practitioner in the FCT who corroborating the idea, said that it would be a welcome development to have public address system in courtrooms, adding that not everyone in the court often hear the judge during proceedings.

According to him, during proceedings, communication between litigants and judges may not flow in the court because some litigants are not audible.

Muhammed said that the use of public address system would enhance the audible and clean record of proceedings.

Mr Akaahs Albert, another legal practitioner also said the use of public address system would allow for clarity, especially in a large court room.

“I don’t see any problem using microphone in the court if it is properly managed by way of regulating the sound, it will reduce ambiguity of statement and enhance the work done by journalists.”

A Jabi High Court journalist, Mr Samuel Ade said that many journalists complain of not hearing judge during court proceedings, saying this could affect the quality of their reports.

Another journalist, Mr David Olufemi at the FCT High Court Lugbe, said that the court with only one courtroom and a large space did not have any public address system.

NAN reports that Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN) recently at the Lugbe High court, while appearing as counsel to Farouq Lawal versus the Federal Government in a bribery case, asked Justice Angela Otaluka why there was no public address system in the courtroom.

He said that it was distressing for lawyers to shout on top of their voices in the courtroom to enable the judge hear them during proceedings.

Ozekhome said that the inability of the court to adopt the use of public address system would also affect the judge, and called on Justice Angela Otaluka to ensure something was done to address the anomaly.

Reacting, Otaluka said that she agreed with Ozekhome, adding that it was time the court adopted the use of public address system in conducting proceedings.

She said that this would also reduce her burden as she would not have to be shouting on top of her voice to be heard.

However, the Federal High Court, Maitama has already adopted the use of public address system, while some courts in the FCT are yet to do same.

The court on Sept. 11 officially resumed from its two months vacation. (NAN)

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