An Effurun High Court has ruled that a witness non-resident in Nigeria and constrained to be physically absent due to COVID-19 travel restrictions can virtually have a witness deposition on oath or any other affidavit in respect of a suit.
The ruling, by Justice G. B Briki-Okolosi of High Court One, Effurun, would now allow the witness to access the court through the use of zoom or Whatsapp Video Call or any suitable virtual platform for the use of the court registry.
It is the first such ruling in Nigeria. By the ruling also, the Court Registry can obtain the signature of the witness virtually or electronic signature transferred through a PDF format or any other file sawing format as may be approved by court.
The ruling came following an application brought by the claimant, Mr Richard Ogedegbe who lives in South Africa.
The claimant says he is a Principal Customary Administrator of the family property at PTI Road Effurun.
The application further notes that news of planned sale of the family property by the defendants has come to him which he opposed.
The application said the COVID-19 regional flight restriction and some other public health related issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa has made it difficult for him to come to Nigeria to depose to facts in his witness deposition on oath and endorse same physically in Nigeria.
The court granted witness deposition on Oath or any affidavit in respect of the suit through the use of zoom or Whatsapp Video call or and suitable virtual platform for the use in the court registry.