Court denies Journalists Access to Courtroom

The judicial authorities in Nigeria have denied a group of journalists access to a hearing that was taking place at a High Court in Abuja.

The incident occurred on October 17, 2017 when reporters arrived at the court premises only to be stopped by officials of the state paramilitary group, Department of State Services (DSS). The security officials told the journalists they have been instructed to keep the media out of the courtroom.

“We are working under directives,” one of the DSS operatives is reported to have said.

After brief protests, the reporters left the premises, seeing the determination of the security agents to carry out the orders of the judicial authorities.

The case in question is trial of Nnamadi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who is charged with terrorism and leading an illegal secessionist movement. On January 10, 2017, security forces prevented journalists from covering one of the hearings on the same case.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) reiterates its earlier appeal to the judicial authorities in Nigeria to communicate to the media in advance its decision to exclude them from any particular hearing to prevent unnecessary rows at the court premises.

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