The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) have been sued by Ekiti state government alongside the Attorneys General of Lagos and Ogun States following the implementation of virtual court proceedings.
Ekiti state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, in the lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of Malami’s directive for Head of Courts at federal and state levels to hold virtual court sittings following the outbreak of Coronavirus, asked the apex court to issue an order striking down the directive as it relates to Virtual or Remote Court sittings.
Ekiti state wants the Supreme Court to determine 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. The state also asked for nullification of the directive to the extent that same purports to be binding on state High Courts and other subordinate courts in Ekiti State for being inconsistent with Section 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 36(3) and (4), 272 and 274 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Supreme Court which is yet to fix a date for the case, was also asked to determine if whether Lagos and Ogun state 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).