The Sokoto State Judiciary has increased the fee for the swearing of affidavit in the state from N100 to N1,000 following HumAngle’s report on how indiscriminate issuance of affidavit, especially change of name, poses significant threat to the security of the Northwest border state.
The report spotlighted how court officials not only fleeced unsuspecting members of the public who needed to swear an affidavit but also violated the provision of the Evidence Act while routinely issuing out the legal documents, even by proxy.
The court officials violated sections 108, 115, and 117-119 of the Evidence Act of 2011 which describe the procedural requirements for obtaining an affidavit.
The report in Nov. 2020 also pointed out that criminals and suspects from neighbouring countries could easily assume false identities by changing their names for as little as N100 to escape into the state while wanted criminals could do the same to evade justice in the state.
Sokoto State shares borders with Niger Republic and there are fears that wanted criminals in the latter can easily filter into Nigeria and assume different identities through such porous affidavit procedure.
When the reporter visited the State High Court on Friday, Sept. 3, one of the court officials guided him to an office where people gathered to obtain the legal documents.
A woman garbed in brown flowing Hijab who was attending to deponents told the reporter the fee is no longer N100 naira but N1,000 contrary to what obtained sometimes last year.
“Are you new in Sokoto? It’s no longer N100. If you don’t have N1,000 you’ll have to come back. I’ve got people to attend to,” she responded sternly.
Despite the increment, this reporter observed that it is not entirely the beginning of a new dawn in the state’s High Court, as officials still issue the legal document without ascertaining the identity of the deponents.
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