*HOW TO MAKE POWER OF ATTORNEY TO BE GENUINE AND ACCEPTABLE.* DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 312) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

Power of attorney can be written for any purpose. It is an authority/consent given by any person to anyone to do or not to do anything on behalf of the giver of such consent.
Courts MUST presume any document claiming to be power of attorney to be a genuine power of attorney if such power of attorney was signed and authenticated by a Notary Public or any Judge or Magistrate, consul or Nigeria representative or Presidential representative. Once a power of attorney is signed and authenticated by any of the persons mentioned above, such document will be accepted by any court as a good evidence of power of attorney.

My authorities are sections 150 and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

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*HOW TO AVOID CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE FOR ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE.* DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 310) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

With the enactment of the Evidence Act, 2011, it is now easy to tender and use documents produced by computer in courts across Nigeria. The condition for such use is enshrined in section 84 of the Evidence Act and is a certificate of compliance showing that such document was authentically generated from a reliable computer in the ordinary cause of activities. The Supreme Court in DICKSON V. SYLVA (2017) 8 NWLR (PT 1567) 167, has held that such certificate can be written or oral, if written, it is still subject to the powers of court to demand for an oral evidence. Also, the Supreme Court held in our, per Onnoghen, JSC as he then was, that where there is no certificate of compliance, a document produced by computer will not be admissible.

Generally, Computer is defined in section 258 of the Evidence Act to include any device for storing and processing information. Hence, Computer and device are used interchangeably, here. Note that, both primary and secondary documents, that are documents produced by computer must also fulfill the conditions of section 84 of the Evidence Act aside any other condition ordinarily expected for such.

Below are questions and reasons for such questions, needed to lay proper foundation for oral certification of document produced by computer in any court in Nigeria.

1.
Question:
Please tell this honourable court what document is referred to as “xxxxxxxxxxxx” [insert title of document] in your witness statement on oath?

Reason:
Pursuant to section 84(4)(a) of Evidence Act, a document produced by computer should be identified. Such document should be mentioned giving its title and unique name. Like, bank statement of Mr. Musa Ibeh between 2nd April to 23 May, 2019.

2.
Question:
How was the document produced?

Reason:
Pursuant to section 84(4)(a) of Evidence Act, there should be a description of the manner a document produced by a computer was produced. This may include explaining and mentioning; typing, scanning, saving, emailing, downloading and sending procedures/steps/stages. See, ROWAYE JUBRIL v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2018) LPELR-43993(CA)


3. Question:
What device was used in producing the document?

Reason:
Pursuant to section 84(4)(b) of Evidence Act, there should is need for provision of particulars/details of the computer like Name, Type, Model, Year and unique title (if any). Note that by section 84(3) of the Evidence Act, where sets, groups or combination of computers were used whether concurrently or simultaneously, they all will be regarded as constituting a single computer. Hence, in such situation one need not mention all the computers employed in producing a document.

4. Question:
How regular was the device used during the period the document was produced?

Reason:
Pursuant to sections 84(2)(a) and 84(4)(c) of Evidence Act, there is need to establish that the computer was regularly used to store/process information by any person/persons for regular activities whether the activities are private or for profit making.

5. Question:
What was the device mainly and regularly used for?

Reason:
Pursuant to sections 84(2)(b) and 84(4)(c) of Evidence Act, there is need to establish that the computer was regularly supplied information like the type on the document produced by computer sought to be tendered.

6. Question:
What was the condition of the device before the production of the document?

Reason:
Pursuant to sections 84(2)(c) and 84(4)(c) of Evidence Act, the device was operating properly during the concerned period and that even if it was out of operation or part of it was not operating properly, that such never affected the document produced by computer or its content.

7. Question:
Where was the information on document produced by computer gotten from?

Reason:
Pursuant to sections 84(2)(d) and 84(4)(c) of Evidence Act, there is need to establish that the information in the document produced by computer sought to be tendered was derived from the information supplied to the device in the ordinary and regular course of activities.

8. Question:
What is your relationship with the device?

Reason:
Pursuant to section 84(4)(c) of Evidence Act, there is need to establish that the person providing a certification for document produced by computer and the computer used for such production, is a person of responsible position with regards to the operation of the device or the management the relevant activities. Such a person must not be a computer expert; he may even be a manager of a department/company that owns the concerned device and as such familiar with the computer.


My authorities are sections 84 and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011. Also the Supreme Court Judgments in the cases of DICKSON V. SYLVA (2017) 8 NWLR (PT 1567) 167 and KUBOR V. DICKSON (2012) LPELR-9817(SC).

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*WHAT IS THE ALLOWED PRESUMABLE ORDER OF DEATH OF PERSONS IN NIGERIA*. DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 309) By Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK).


No one knows when he/she will die but we all must die some day! Well, for the sake of sharing property and determining ownership of property, where two (2) or more persons died in circumstances that have made it impossible to determine who died before the other, they would be presumed to have died according to their order of seniority, with the eldest dying first. The first to come to life is presumed to be first to die.

My authorities are sections 164 (2) and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

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*CAN THE EVIDENCE ACT APPLY TO ARBITRATION OR CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL. * DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 308) By Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK).

The Evidence Act regulates the use of evidence in all proceedings in courts in Nigeria. Note that the evidence Act cannot apply to proceedings under arbitration or court martial or any Customary Court of Appeal, Sharia Court of Appeal, Area Court, or Customary Court in any part of Nigeria. Although, the evidence Act can apply to a Customary Court of Appeal, Sharia Court of Appeal, Area Court, or Customary Court in any part of Nigeria, where the Constitution of Nigeria or any order published on gazette. Note also that the Evidence Act apples to Area Court over criminal cases.

My authorities are sections 256 and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

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**CAN THE AGE OF A PERSON AT THE TIME OF DEATH BE PRESUMED. **DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 305) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

Not minding the records and reports on the life expectancy of Nigerians and the nation’s mortality projections, the age of a person at the point of his death can never be presumed even though it can be shown that such a person was alive at a particular time.

My authorities are sections 164 (3) and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

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*HOW TO PROVE ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES IN NIGERIA. * DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 298) By Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK).

First of all, electronic signatures are allowed and acceptable in any part of Nigeria including courts. Electronic signatures can be proved by any manner. One of the ways to prove such is by showing there is a security procedure or system or symbol that exists which allows any person relying on any electronic signature to verify such signature before proceeding to rely on it and transact. The security procedure or system or symbol must be one that can prove that an electronic signature or record belongs to a person it claims to belong to.

My authorities are sections 93(3) and 259 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

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DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 103)
“Contents of a Valid Affidavit of Change of Name”.

An Affidavit of Change of Name is valid if sworn before a commission for oath or a Notary Public. It must state the old and new names as well as the date the change was made. It is not necessary to give reasons to the change.

See section 115 of the Evidence Act.

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DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 102)
“A Single Police Officer /Traffic Warden Cannot Prove Over-speeding in Nigeria”.

No driver or rider in Nigeria can be convicted for over-speeding based only on the evidence of one witness, not minding that the witness is a Police Officer, Federal Road Safety Corp or of any agency. This will be different where such Officer witnessed and detected such through a device for recording speed.

See section 203 of the Evidence Act.

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