- AGF Malami, Lagos and Ogun state governments have been dragged to court by Ekiti state government over virtual court hearings
- The AGF had earlier issued a directive prescribing virtual court sittings to the head of courts at federal and state levels
- However, Ekiti government wants the Supreme Court to strike down the directive which has been implemented by Lagos and Ogun state governments
The Ekiti state government has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to court over the constitutionality of virtual court proceedings.
Recall that the AGF had on Monday, April 20, issued a directive prescribing virtual court sittings to the head of courts at federal and state levels.
Channels TV reports the Ekiti state government is asking the Supreme Court to issue an order striking down the directive on virtual or remote court sittings.
Legit.ng gathers that the suit filed through the office of the Ekiti state's attorney general and commissioner for justice, Wale Fapohunda, also wants the apex court, among other things, to nullify the directive to the extent that same purports to be binding on state high courts and other subordinate courts in Ekiti state.
The suit argued that the directive is inconsistent with Section 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 36(3) and (4), 272 and 274 of the 1999 Constitution.
Apart from Malami, the attorneys general of Lagos and Ogun states who have implemented virtual court proceedings were also listed defendants in the suit.
The Supreme Court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the matter.
In a related development, the Lagos state government has taken the federal government and the National Assembly to 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 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.
Also, Human Rights Watch has described the sentencing to death of a Nigerian driver via Zoom as "inherently cruel and inhumane."
BBC Africa reports that the rights group was reacting to one of Nigeria’s first court rulings made using the video chat app because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Legit.ng gathered that a Lagos judge, Mojisola Dada, sentenced Olalekan 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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