Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Nigerian Judicial System
Keywords:COVID-19, Non-medical safety protocol, justice, judiciary, impact assessment
Nigerian Judiciary faced difficulty in dispensing justice during the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged all sectors of the globe. In efforts to curb the speed spread of the virus Nigerian judiciary followed suit of the adoption of the non-medical safety protocols, which negatively affected the operations of the courts/judiciary to Nigerians and Nigerian state. The study is ex-post facto research design which relied on secondary data and the study theoretical framework was underpinned by system theory. The judiciary adjudicates upon issues of conflict between individuals, groups, government and individual or organs of government, which was impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdown and strict adherence to non-medical safety protocol imposed by the government. The paper demonstrated and established the stance of judiciary as watchdog in state governance in Nigeria. The paper unfolded that COVID-19 non-medical safety protocols negatively affected timely justice delivery as a result of physical presence of the litigant/lawyers required in the processes of filing case, which lockdown badly affected in Nigeria. The paper also revealed that COVID-19 pandemic tapered social and economic status of legal practitioners and litigants in Nigeria. So, electronic court hearings, training of courts staff on the act of electronic court hearing and electrification of courts across levels among others were recommended by the paper.