- Abubakar Malami, the minister of justice and the National Assembly have been dragged before the Supreme Court by the Lagos state government
- Lagos government is asking Nigeria's apex court to determine the constitutionality of any kind of remote hearing by the state high court or any other courts
- Malami had earlier revealed that with the use of digital tools court proceedings will now be held through teleconference
In a report by The Nation, the Lagos state government has taken the federal government and the National Assembly to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of virtual hearings and ascertain if the proceedings are lawful.
Respondents in the suit filed by Lagos state through its attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, include the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, and the National Assembly.
The commercial centre of the country is asking the apex court to determine whether the use of technology such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, or any other digital platform in aid of remote hearings and determination of cases is lawful.
Recall that the minister of justice disclosed that court proceedings will now be held through teleconference, using digital tools following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Lagos state, the remote hearings have already begun causing apprehension over proceedings already conducted virtually in compliance with directions issued by the Chief Judge.
The Lagos attorney-general also wants the court to determine whether the National Assembly can take the Lagos state chief judge's powers by commencing the process for the amendment of the constitution to include virtual hearings.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that for the first time in its history, the Lagos State Judiciary is holding its first-ever virtual court sitting.
Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja high court is delivering judgment in a murder and stealing case between the State of Lagos v Olalekan Hameed.
The court session which began at 11 am was held online via a video app. People present in the virtual sitting include the judge, defendant, his team of counsel, the prosecution team and top members of the state Judiciary and Ministry of Justice.
However, Human Rights Watch described the sentencing to death of a Nigerian driver via Zoom as "inherently cruel and inhumane." The rights group was reacting to one of Nigeria’s first court rulings made using the video chat app because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Justice Dada sentenced Hameed to death by hanging for the murder of his employer’s mother. The hearing lasted almost three hours and was virtually attended by lawyers, including the attorney general.
They all participated in the session on Monday, May 4, from different locations as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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