The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Honourable Justice John Tsoho, has emphasized the crucial need for continuous training of High Court Judges, particularly in the realm of banking and financial laws. His call for ongoing education came during a keynote address at the 2023 sensitization seminar organized by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The seminar’s overarching theme, “Strengthening depositors’ confidence in Banks and other financial institutions through speedy dispensation of Justice,” underscored the importance of a well-informed judiciary in addressing the challenges posed by innovations like electronic and online banking. Justice Tsoho highlighted that these advancements bring about a host of potential issues, ranging from economic and social to legal, technical, and security-related.
In recognizing the multifaceted nature of challenges associated with modern banking practices, Justice Tsoho stressed that adequate training is essential. He emphasized that such training would empower judges to navigate and adjudicate cases related to electronic or online banking efficiently, ensuring a timely and just resolution without unnecessary delays.
This commitment to enhancing the knowledge and capacity of High Court Judges reflects a broader effort to align the judiciary with the rapidly evolving landscape of banking and finance. By staying abreast of the intricacies of emerging technologies and legal frameworks, the judiciary can play a pivotal role in upholding justice and instilling confidence in depositors within the financial sector.
The Chief Judge’s proactive stance on continuous education resonates with the dynamic nature of the legal and financial domains, demonstrating a forward-looking approach to addressing contemporary challenges.
According to him, “It is not out of place to say that any innovation such as electronic or online banking come with many problems, some of which are economic, social, legal, technical or security related.
“Out of these problems that there are electronic fraud such as money laundering, kidnapping for ransom paid through the bank and other illegal activities perpetrated through the use of banking system.
“The regulatory bodies such as the NDIC and the Judges should build, maintain confidence and trust of depositors on the safety and security of their money and other valuables deposited in the bank through quick administration of justice.
“Judges therefore, especially those of the Federal High Court should continue to be trained to build their body of knowledge in the appropriate banking and financial laws, as expected, this seminar is very strategic and will offer such opportunities.”
In a similar vein, Tsoho said it’s imperative for judges to proactively rebuild the diminishing trust of depositors in financial institutions. The escalating apprehensions among depositors regarding cyber fraud, internal malpractices, and unauthorized handling of funds in banks demand the swift administration of justice. High Court Judges bear the weighty responsibility of stemming this tide by ensuring the prompt delivery of justice, sparing no unnecessary delays.
Acknowledging the prevalent concerns, it’s crucial for judges to engage in comprehensive discussions during seminars, reviewing diverse approaches to fortify the regulatory framework and enhance the functions of institutions like the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). These platforms provide judges with the opportunity to collaboratively address cases related to the financial sector, enabling informed decisions and orders to be made.
In his opening remarks, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Hon Justice Salisu Abdullahi, emphasized the unavoidable challenges confronting the banking sector. These challenges encompass the intricate dynamics between financial technology (fin-tech) and conventional banking, presenting complexities and consequences that cannot be ignored.
Extending a warm welcome to the participants, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the NDIC, Hassan Bello, underscored the pivotal role played by the judiciary in resolving disputes throughout the entire process—from the revocation of banking licenses to the liquidation and termination of related activities. He revealed that the current maximum claim for depositors varies, with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), Payment Service Banks (PSBs), and subscribers of Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) having a maximum coverage of N500,000 per depositor per deposit-taking institution. In contrast, Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs) have a maximum coverage limit of N200,000 per depositor per MFB.