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Vitual Court Hearing not unconstitutional…. Report any Chief Judge who refuses to consider Virtual Court hearing to the NJC- SC #Nigeria


The Supreme Court has struck out a suit brought by the Attorney- General of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda, against the Attorney-General of the Federation regarding the legality of virtual court sittings.

In the suit, Mr Fapohunda asked the court to determine whether the directive issued by the AGF to the Heads of Courts at Federal and State levels, as it relates to the conduct of virtual proceedings in court, is not a violation of the federalism provisions of the 1999 Constitution.


He also asked the apex court to determine if the directive issued in line with the National Judicial Council is not a violation of the constitutional provisions on fair hearing as it relates to the conduct of criminal trials in public.

Furthermore, Fapohunda asked the court to set aside or strike down directives to the extent that they purport to be binding on the Ekiti State High Court for being inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Apart from the Attorney General of the Federation, the Attorneys General of Lagos and Ogun States who have implemented virtual court proceedings were also listed as second and third defendants.


The AG Ekiti State further asked that the Supreme Court determines whether the AGF’s guidelines are not a derogation from the legislative, executive and judicial law-making, law execution and adjudicatory rules making powers exclusively vested in states of the federation in respect of states courts, by virtue of Sections 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 272 and 272 and 274 of the Constitution.

Fapohunda also asked the apex court to decide whether Lagos and Ogun states, having adopted virtual court hearings pursuant to the lockdown, the three arms of Government in Ekiti State are bound to conduct their legislative, executive and judicial functions pertaining to adjudication in state courts in compliance with the directive upon which the National Judicial Council formulated the provisions of Articles E(1) to E(13) of its Guidelines (issued on May 7, 2020).

But in a unanimous judgement on Tuesday, a seven-man panel, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour declared that as at today, virtual court sittings are not unconstitutional.

The suit was also struck out on grounds that it was speculative and failed to show any cause of action.

The court further held that the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to make and amend laws and any Judge that refuses to sit virtually should be reported to the NJC and removed from the bench.

The issue of the constitutionality or otherwise of remote or virtual court hearing has dominated national discussion since the publication of the guidelines of the NJC which recommended virtual court proceedings for courts in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Opinion has been divided among lawyers on the legality of the directive.

A number of High Courts including those in Lagos, Ogun, and Borno states, have proceeded to implement the guidelines while many States, including Ekiti State have been adamant in their opposition to the directive insisting that only a constitutional amendment or pronouncement by the Supreme Court can ensure the legality of virtual court hearings.


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My vision is driven by the conviction that Governments primarily have responsibilities to perform and must be held to account on improved conditions that meet basic standards of living; employment generation and livelihoods sustainability; whilst balancing socio-cultural peculiarities of the various constituencies in the new world order.



Abiodun BORISADE is the last child of the 4 children of Late Justice Michael Ayorinde BORISADE and wife, Chief Mrs Oyeyemi BORISADE.
Abiodun holds a Bachelor of science degree in chemistry (1997 EKSU); A Masters degree in Environmental Management (Middlesex University, UK. 2002); A Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Lecturing (University of Bolton UK, 2006); A Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (International Institute of Journalism, University of Maiduguri 2019).

Abiodun lectured in chemistry and general sciences at various renowned UK institutions including Hopwood Hall College, Middleton Greater Manchester; City & Islington College, London.

Abiodun BORISADE is Founder and Chief Executive Office of Elise Integrated Consult Nigeria Limited. A popular media brand www.abiodunborisade.com is also under his direct control.

Abiodun served as Technical Assistant to Ekiti government 2011, and is currently serving as special assistant on new media to ekiti state governor.

He is member to numerous reputable professional bodies within and outside Nigeria.

Copyright © 2021 Abiodun Borisade.

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