Nigerian sentenced virtually: Video conferencing app Zoom goes one step ahead to inhumanity


New technological app Zoom has sparked criticism this time. In Lagos, a Nigerian driver was virtually sentenced to death – a ruling which is overtly inhumane.

Olalekan Hameed was found guilty for the murder of his employer’s mother in 2018. The court ordered to execute him by hanging to death.

Although Human Rights Watch opted for the creation of the virtual court to access justice post-global pandemic, it nonetheless declares Hameed’s execution as “inherently cruel and inhumane”. The judiciary is said to have acted “in the wrong direction”.

The Human Rights Monitoring Committee emphasized that it was immoral and intolerable to take the death decision like this.

It is true that in Nigeria, the death penalty is legal by Section 33 of the Constitution and till the present day there are more than two thousand people sentenced to death, but three people only were executed in 2016, so why this hurry for Hameed? Highlighted Amnesty International.

In regard to global social distancing rules after Covid 19 outbreak, the court had no choice but to deliver its verdict virtually through Zoom.

The hearing continued almost three hours and was virtually attended by lawyers, including the attorney general. While the judge was in the Lagos High Court, the alleged culprit was at Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, and the lawyers joined from their respective confined locations.

Amnesty International Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho is completely against this idea of holding court sessions virtually.

He says, “In this case, could this sentencing not be delayed to another time?” He additionally questions whether the process was led by virtual sitting and fair hearing.

Given Amnesty International is advocating the abolishment of death penalty, Ojigho supports the idea that:

“No one wants to be held accountable for ending someone’s life, from the pattern we see. If the government has an internal struggle and is hesitant to sign death warrants, why don’t we take it off the books?”