Magistrate Orders Journalist Out Of Court For Covering Proceeding With Permission




There was mild drama, at the Lagos State Magistrate Court, Igbosere, last Friday when a presiding Magistrate, Mr. H. O Amos queried  presence of Vanguard newspaper reporter, Onozure Dania in his court.

After several questions and answers, Magistrate Amos eventually ordered the journalist out of his court, held that the journalist did not obtain his permission‎ before entering his court.

Before the journalist was ordered out of the court, ‎Magistrate Amos was
hearing an application filed by a surety, Mr. Gbenga Badmos, who had applied to withdraw from standing as surety for a defendant, Mr. Akindele Afolabi.
 Afolabi 48, was arraigned alongside one Alhaji Adio Kazeem 79, before the court on August 11, 2014,  ‎on an eight count charge bordering on conspiracy, forcible entery, forcible possession, impersonation, breach of peace and threat, preferred against them by the police.

 ‎In the course of proceedings, the court's  registrar, informed Amos that  there was a Journalist in court, the magistrate who has a reputation for  barring journalists from his court abruptly stopped the proceedings and
asked the journalist to identify herself.
 "Who are you? The court asked. “I am a journalist.” What is your interest in this matter?” He asked the Journalist.
 In response, the journalist, Dania  said: "I have no interest in the  matter, am here to cover court proceedings that is why am here.
I understand that the court is a public place and anybody can come and get whatever information they need."
The magistrate further asked: "Did you take permission from me before
 entering the court?”
 Reporter replied: "I don't need to take permission at the court is a public
 place, I do cover the High Courts, the Court of Appeal, and I have never been asked to seek for permission before covering the court  proceedings there "
 The court: "I agree that the court is a public place  but did you take my
 permission before entering this court? You think you can just come into my court and start writing whatever you like? If you want to write anything from this court, I must vet it before it is published. "
 Reporter: "You can't vet my  story before publication". Court:  "Then walk out of my court."

Earlier, Badmos who was seeking to withdrawal from the matter as a surety said that the reason for his withdrawal is that he no longer has confidence in the defendant and that the defendant had already procured travelling document and plans to leave Nigeria.
‎Afolabi and others at large, between July 6, 2004 and January 2014, at 29, Agege Motor Road, Lagos and 3, Eniola Street, Idioro, Mushin, Lagos, allegedly conspired and unlawfully entered a property belonging to one Mr. Samuel Odumale and Ademola Adegbuyi, in a conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

The prosecutor Inspector Haruna Ibrahim, said that Afolabi illegally mobilized others still at large to forcefully take over the aforesaid  building located at the two addresses above.
 He said that on January 6, 2014, Afolabi threatened barrister Wale  Odekhiran with a text message and demanded for the property located at 19, Agege Motor road, idi-Oro, Lagos.

 According to him, Afolabi on December 8, 2013, willfully and without a lawful excuse entered into Redeemed Christian Church of God, Holiness Temple parish  at, 16, Koboti Street, Alakara, Idi-Oro, Lagos and Jesus Head Stone Evangelical Ministry at Olaniyi close, Idi-oro Lagos, to  disturb the services of the two churches by demanding a ransom.

The offences committed the prosecutor said is punishable under sections
 410,52, 166 (d), 300, 126, and 378 (1) (2) ‎of the Criminal laws of Lagos
 state 2011.


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