Why notarised documents from Nigeria are distrusted overseas – Durosimi-Etti

Fikayo Durosimi-Etti leads operations at ToNote Technologies – an e-notary solution providing a faster and trustful authentication of legal documents. In this interview, Durosimi-Etti explains how the tech firm and the Society for Notary Public are collaborating to make notarised documents from Nigerian practitioners globally acceptable. 


Q: The Society for Notary Public (SNP) and your firm have introduced electronic signing and authentication of legal documents. Tell us about the novel digital solution to notary practice. 

We are happy about the launch of the Society for Notary Public (SNP). And importantly too, SNP’s collaboration with ToNote Technologies. We have created systems to enhance trust and reliability of documents for use in Nigeria and anywhere else in the world. This innovation will ensure that signing and authenticating notarised legal documents such as deeds, contracts, agreements, power of attorney etc. are done in a faster and efficient manner. At the same time, we are breaking down the barriers of time, space, and place through our electronic documentary management processes.

Q: Notarial practice has been around in Nigeria for several decades, what informed this innovation?

It is a fact that notarial practice in Nigeria has faced a trust challenge for many years. Notaries are often undervalued and, because of this, they miss several opportunities and are unable to perform effectively in their role to society. For too long, inefficiencies, the limited access to notaries, lack of compliance with acceptable guidelines and notary public laws, and delays in verifying notarised documents have marred notarial processes in Nigeria. These challenges contribute to the lack of trust that often greets documents originating from Nigeria in other jurisdictions. 

Q: Can you expatiate on those negative impacts and the ways to tackle them? 

Yes. Nigerians and Nigerian businesses suffer avoidable delays, sometimes caused by rigorous Know Your Customer (KYC) verifications than the next person. Now, with the launch of the Society for Notary Public (SNP) and the involvement of ToNote Technologies, we expect a positive shift toward observance of best practices and global acceptability of notarised documents. SNP is collaborating with ToNote to address some of these challenges. Our mission is to support the Supreme Court of Nigeria in upholding the integrity of notarial practice in Nigeria. We aim to ensure that every document can be trusted, regardless of its geographical origin or its destination, carry out capacity building and ensure compliance with, and enforce notarial laws.

Q: What steps have SNP and ToNote Technologies taken to ensure global best practice in notary public activities?

We contributed to the amendments made to the ‘Evidence Act’ and the ‘Notary Public Act’. The amended law now incorporates technology in authenticating and acceptability of electronic documents. With this new regulatory landscape, ToNote’s cutting-edge technology ensures that notary documents processed on our systems are secured, accessible and verifiable.



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