Delta: Court Permits South Africa Based Nigerian To File Virtual Witness Deposition On Oath

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    By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri

    The Nigerian judiciary has once more technologically nodded its head to virtual hearing with a novel approach to virtual  witness deposition as the Delta State High Court III sitting in at the Effurun Judicial Division in Uvwie Local Government Area has granted two prayers of an applicant based in South Africa,Richard Ogedegbe that his witness deposition on oath should be taken virtually vide WhatsApp Call or Zoom or any other suitable virtual platform the Court Official in charge of filing or issuing the said process may  direct for the purpose of filing the case to enable the court hear same.
    This is first of its kinds in the legal profession in Nigeria, AUTHENTIC News Daily reports.
    The Administrative Judge of the Court, Hon Justice G.B. Briki-Okolosi handed down the judgment in Suit No:EHC/M/2/2020.

    The Court during its ruling on the application on 5th October, 2020 said,”Having perused the Motion Exparte and the supporting documents it was satisfied in that behalf and considering the protocols following the Covid-19 pandemic that the application merits grant. It was for the above reason the court ordered as prayed in the motion paper.”

    Counsel to the Applicant,Prof. Teddy Idiabeta Esq said,”With this development, this case has become the first case in Nigeria where a party in a suit can virtually depose to facts in a witness deposition on oath vide WhatsApp Video Call or Zoom or any other suitable virtual platform for the purpose of filing the process and for the purpose of filing subsequent processes in the matter.”

    The applicant,Mr. Richard Ogedegbe had through his Counsel, Prof. Teddy Idiabeta, a practitioner research professor and virtual law practice consultant approached the Court vide an exparte motion dated 16th October, 2020 filed same date prayed the Court for the following.
    “LEAVE OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT to enable the Claimant/Applicant to depose to facts in his witness deposition on oath via Zoom or WhatsApp Video Call or any other suitable virtual platform for use in the Court Registry  as may be directed by this Honourable Court with the witness deposition on oath to be signed or adopted virtually by the written name or electronic signature of the Claimant/Applicant as may be adopted by him virtually in real time before the Commissioner of Oath with same transferred virtually through a PDF format or any other file saving format  as may be approved by this Honourable Court as a virtual platform of the court official in charge of filing the said originating process in respect of the above suit having regard to the peculiar nature and or urgency  of the matter and the travelling constraints of the Claimant/Applicant from South Africa to Nigeria
    “Leave of this Honourable Court to enable Claimant/Applicant to depose to subsequent facts in any subsequent witness deposition on oath/ or any affidavit in respect of the above  suit through the use of Zoom or WhatsApp Video call or any other suitable virtual platform for use in the Court Registry as may be directed by this Honourable Court with the witness deposition on oath or affidavit to be signed or adopted virtually by the written name or electronic signature of the Claimant/Applicant as may be adopted by him virtually in real time before the Commissioner of Oath  with same transferred virtually  through a PDF format or any other file saving format as may be approved by this Honourable Court as a virtual platform of the Court official in charge of filing the said originating processes in respect of the above suit having regard to the peculiar nature and or urgency of the matter and the travelling constraints of the Claimant/Applicant from South Africa to Nigeria.
    “And for such order or further orders (s) as this Honourable Court may seem fit to make in the circumstances.”
    It was learnt that five respondents including Mr. Baker Agbarho Ogedegbe, Stella Ogedegbe, Henry Ogedegbe, Aron Onajite Ogedegbe and Mcleord Ogedegbe had allegedly sold their late father’s property at PTI Road in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area without the consent of the Applicant who does not live in Nigeria.

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