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Court bars media from covering terrorism proceedings

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Court bars media from covering terrorism proceedings

The Federal High Court of Nigeria has announced that there will be no more media coverage for proceedings bordering on terrorism.

The Chief Information Officer of the court, Dr. Catherine Christopher, made the announcement in a statement on Thursday while outlining FHC’s new practice directions.

According to the statement, terrorism proceedings will be conducted in secret except when the Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, grants permission for media coverage.

The statement added that terrorism proceedings will hold at any place to be designated by the chief judge and in the case of the Abuja Judicial Division, the venue, for the time being, would be the premises of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“The Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, in exercise of his constitutional powers as enshrined in Section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and all other powers enabling him, hereby made the following practice directions.

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“These practice directions seek to provide measures that will ensure the security and safety of parties, personnel of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, as well as members of the general public while ensuring expeditious and fair trial of persons suspected of having committed acts of terrorism.

“Proceedings of offences of terrorism, subject to the provisions of Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and section 34 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended), shall be held in camera or as may be ordered by the court,” the statement read.

The court warned that anyone who contravenes an order or direction made under the practice directions would be deemed to have committed an offence contrary to Section 34(5) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended).

It stated that the perimeters of a court hearing a terrorism case would be secured for the duration of the trial for the safety of litigants and court officials and that the distance and size of perimeters to be secured for the trial would be determined on a case-by-case basis based on security agency recommendations.

Nobody but approved court personnel, parties, and a handful of pre-registered legal practitioners on both sides, witnesses, and anybody else as directed by the judge or the most senior judge in the particular circumstances would be allowed within the secured perimeters, according to the court.

Court bars media from covering terrorism proceedings

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