Gavel

Nigerian court hearings that take place over the internet must be “fair, transparent and effective”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has told the BBC.

The comments from the rights watchdog come after a man was sentenced to death during a court ruling in Lagos state that was held using Zoom.

In a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, all but urgent court sittings in the country have been suspended.

Presiding over the internet court hearing, Judge Mojisola Dada sentenced Olalekan Hameed to death by hanging for murdering his employer’s mother.

Proceedings lasted almost three hours and were watched by a number of lawyers and judges, including the attorney general.

The defendant pled not guilty.

Under Nigerian law, state governors approve death sentences before they can be carried out.

HRW said the creation of the online court during the coronavirus outbreak shows a commitment to accessing justice. But the group has described the death-by-hanging sentence as “inherently cruel and inhumane”.

What is zoom?

Zoom is a video-conferencing application that offers quality video, audio, and a wireless screen-sharing performance across platforms.

Zoom can perform on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Zoom Rooms, and H. 323/SIP room systems.