Section 83 Evidence Act 2011
Section 83 Evidence Act 2011 is titled ‘Admissibility of documentary evidence as to facts in issue‘. It is under Part V (DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE) of the Act. It states as follows:
(1) In any proceedings where direct oral evidence of a fact would be admissible, any statement made by a person in a document which seems to establish that fact shall, on production of the original document, be admissible as evidence of that fact if the following conditions are satisfied –
(a) if the maker of the statement either –
(i) had personal knowledge of the matters dealt with by the statement, or
(ii) where the document in question is or forms part of a record purporting to be a continuous record, made the statement (in so far as the matters dealt with by it are not within his personal knowledge) in the performance of a duty to record information supplied to him by a person who had, or might reasonably be supposed to have, personal knowledge of those matters; and
(b) if the maker of the statement is called as a witness in the proceedings:
Provided that the condition that the maker of the statement shall be called as a witness need not be satisfied if he is dead, or unfit by reason of his bodily or mental condition to attend as a witness, or if he is outside Nigeria and it is not reasonably practicable to secure his attendance, or if all reasonable efforts to find him have been made without success.
(2) In any proceedings, the court may at any stage of the proceedings, if having regard to all the circumstances of the case it is satisfied that undue delay or expense would otherwise be caused, order that such a statement as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section shall be admissible as
evidence or may, without any such order having been made, admit such a statement in evidence notwithstanding that the –
(a) maker of the statement is available but is not called as a witness;
(b) original document is not produced, if in lieu of it there is produced a copy of the original document or of the material part of it certified to be a true copy in such manner as may be specified in the order or as the court may approve, as the case may be.
(3) Nothing in this section shall render admissible as evidence any statement made by a person interested at a time when proceedings were pending or anticipated involving a dispute as to any fact which the statement might tend to establish.
(4) For the purposes of this section, a statement in a document shall not be deemed to have been made by a person unless the document or the material part of it was written, made or produced by him with his own hand, or was signed or initialed by him or otherwise recognised by him in writing as one for the accuracy of which he is responsible.
(5) For the purpose of deciding whether or not a statement is admissible as evidence by virtue of this section, the court may draw any reasonable inference from the form or contents of the document in which the statement is contained, or from any other circumstances, and may, in deciding, whether or not a person is fit to attend as a witness, act on a certificate purporting to be the certificate of a registered medical practitioner.