After so long that we have become accustomed to the Zoom platform being used for any activity, we would not have thought, however, that it could be used to decree a death sentence.
However, a Nigerian man became the first person in the world to be sentenced to death through a virtual court on Zoom.
The session was short: it took less than 4 hours, and Olalekan Hameed, 35, who joined the call from prison, received the virtual decision without any problems.
Quite conventionally we could say, two days before the conviction, a link to the proceedings was shared on Twitter, but it went largely unnoticed, given that most Nigerians were concerned about the relaxation of the quarantine measures that had lasted five weeks.
The open processes are of some significance to Nigerians, especially those who have lived for decades under military dictatorships that have succeeded in independence and disrupted early attempts at democratic governance.
At that time, court hearings for dissidents and political opponents were replaced by special military tribunals (SMTs), and public access to proceedings was granted or withheld. âºAt the whim of one dictator or another.
In the 21 years since the return of democracy to Nigeria, collective belief in the judiciary has increased significantly, but the death penalty remains a polarized issue; Even when the court decides that an accused person will die by hanging, the provincial governors refrain from authorizing it.
Therefore, for many people, the jump from SMTs to a Zoom Sentence for a murder trial that was otherwise held in person seemed too broad, despite its intended purpose. to expedite the judicial process during the pandemic.
Olalekan's sentence ended a two-year trial. In 2018, while working as a carpenter to pay for his studies, he was arrested for theft and murder after being accused of stealing from his boss and killing her. his mother.
Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, told the Rest of World that mobile courts are the first new legal services to be implemented following the president's request.