EVIDENCE 1.1C INTRODUCTION (SOURCES)
Before 1945, the source was the received English law (Common law, Equity and Statutes of General Application that were in force as at January 1 1900). In 1943 Evidence Ordnance was promulgated but came into force in 1945. Amended in 1950, 1955, 1958, 1990, 2004 then 2011.
The Old Evidence Act empowered the courts to rely on other principles of law, English common law foreign statutes, and so on (see Section 5(a) Old Evidence Act). However, Section 3 EA 2011 restricts the sources to the Evidence Act and other valid legislations in Nigeria.
Note however Section 255 which permits the AG Fed to make regulations relating to admissibility. In other jurisdictions, this power is exercised by promulgating the “Attorney General’s Reference”. Although this “reference” should submit to other written laws. In summary, the following form sources.
- Local Statutes. E.g. Section 39 and 43 ICPC Act
- Other sources may include:
- Case Law and Judicial opinions.
- English Common law and laws of other countries accepted in Nigeria.
- Regulatory practices by the AG-Section 255.
Section 256 provides that all judicial proceedings before any court established in the FRN shall be governed by the EA. The following courts are excluded:
- Arbitrators, court martial, civil cause or matter before sharia or area courts.
In essence, it appears that the EA shall apply to all criminal matters. The right to fair hearing can be applied in all cases even though the EA may not apply-Nigerian Army V Mohammed.