Nigeria news: Sotitobire NUJ petitions Chief Judge, Police Commissioner over harassment of journalists in Ondo Court, Following the incident of last week where a Chief Magistrate walked out journalists from a courtroom, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ondo State Council has written a Protest Letter to the Chief Judge of Ondo State and the State Police Commissioner.
It described as uncivilized and professional for a Police prosecutor and a Magistrate to humiliate pressmen who were in an open court to discharge their lawful duties.
Recall that on Friday, Magistrate Charity Adeyanju of the Oke Eda Magistrates’ Court barred journalists from covering proceedings of the ongoing trial of the founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Prophet Babatunde Alfa over the case of the missing one-year-old child, Gold Kolawole from his church.
The letter signed by the NUJ Chairman, Adetona Aderoboye and the State Secretary, Leke Adegbite which was addressed to the State Chief Judge and the State Commissioner of Police over the action of a Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju and a Police Prosecutor, Inspector Uloh Goodluck, who openly walked out journalists and prevented them from covering the trial of Prophet Alfa Babatunde of Sotitobire Church.
The Union in the letter dated January 17, 2020, bemoaned the roles played by the prosecutor, Inspector Uloh Goodluck who verbally attacked some of the journalists in the court premises.
The letter read, “we write to humbly seek your lordship’s intervention in the harassment and humiliation of some of our members who were at the state Magistrate Court sitting in Oke-Eda Akure on Friday 17th January 2020, to cover the court proceedings in a case involving the State against Prophet Alfa Babatunde & others.
“Before the court’s sitting on the said date, the already seated pressmen were personally ordered out of the court by the trial Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju and were equally prevented from covering the case without any “known offence” in an open court.”
NUJ added that “Over the years, all judges and magistrates in the state can testify to the fact that Ondo state parades the best set of journalists who covered courts’ proceedings with high level of professionalism and decorum.
“Your Lordship, we write this protest letter to register the displeasure of over 400 journalists in the state on the “uncivilized” prevention of the media from performing their lawful duties in an open court.
“It was alleged that the voice of the Magistrate was recorded and circulated on social media by some elements, it is obvious that under the journalism training, media are not legally allowed to use voice or film of judges/magistrates while presiding over any matter in an open court and therefore no journalist could do such because all of them are not new in the coverage of judicial proceedings.”
“We also by this letter seek your protection for our members in covering courts in the state unhindered in line with international best practice and the affected public officers should be called to order.
“As a responsible professional Union, the NUJ shall be ready to discipline any of its members who breach the code of ethics in any way and the Union shall continue to maintain the existing cordial relationship between it and the state judiciary,” the Union concluded.