Journalists barred from Nnamdi Kanu’s trial because of tight security
Prior to the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the Federal High Court in Abuja is surrounded by heavy security. Offiziers of DSS stop journalists from entering court because they are not accredited to cover trial.
According to The Punch, the Department of State Services prevented some media groups from covering the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, who goes on trial today. There are a number of other publications that have been banned from the PUNCH’s circulation. These include The Guardian, The Vanguard, Daily Trust, Tribune, Daily Sun, The Cable and Daily Times. Among the media organisations that have been accredited by the DSS are the Daily Post and ThisDay as well as Premium Times, The Nation, Daily Independent and The Herald.
There were no specific justifications given for the DSS’s selection of 10 media outlets while preventing others from reporting on the trial. It was impossible to get through to the DSS spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunnaye. A message sent to him on the secret police’s actions had not been answered as of the time of writing. Mr. Ozekhome condemned the decision to prevent The PUNCH and other media organisations from covering the trial. He said that under Nigerian law every trial should be conducted in public, and that everyone is entitled to watch the proceedings. Il a déclaré: “Nos tribunaux ne permettent pas les procès secrets. Wir sind kein Land der Hexen und Zauberer, die in einer Coven agieren. A trial must be open and public if it is to be free and fair, according to section 36 of the Constitution. Section 36 of the Constitution is violated by excluding some media companies from covering Nnamdi Kanu’s trial. Section 22 of the same Constitution gives the media the right and responsibility to ensure that the provisions of Chapter Two of the constitution dealing with the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy are upheld and that the government is held accountable to the people of Nigeria. In a similar vein, Remi Olatubora (SAN) said barring media outlets from exercising their constitutional responsibility goes antithetical to the right to freedom of expression provided under Chapter Four of the Nigerian Constitution. It is a signal that we are now under full tyranny, Olatubora stated. There is a serious side to the blocking of a person.
In certain circumstances, the question is whether the trial may still be characterized as a public trial or as a free and fair trial as required by law.” He added: “Generally, the courtroom is a public environment and anyone can enter.” Courts make precautions to ensure that proceedings are not disrupted in contested trials. The court is within its rights to do so.