NAJUC Accuses Court of Appeal Over Media Restrictions order As Presidential Election Tribunal Kicks off Tomorrow
The National Association of Judiciary Correspondents has condemned in the strongest term the restriction of some Media Houses by the Court of Appeal Abuja from the coverage of the 2023 Presidential Election Petition Court slated to start hearing all petitions on May 8, 2023. A press statement made available to journalists by the NAJUC General Secretary, Paschal Njoku demanded the immediate removal of one Bukola Gar who is currently operating as a link between the Court of Appeal and the media.
Njoku also demanded that the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal should immediately reverse the “obnoxious and irritating directive of Bukola Gar restricting media from accessing the Court of Appeal”. The statement reads, ” As we all are aware, the 2023 Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) will commence full hearing of various petitions arising from the conduct of the February 25, Presidential Election. “It is on record that former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku and former Anambra State Governor, Peter Gregory Obi and other aggrieved ones filed petitions challenging the conduct of the 2023 Presidential election and hearing slated for Monday, May 8th.
“In line with our constitutional mandate as enshrined in Chapter 2, Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the mass media (The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media) shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people. “As members of the fourth estate of the realm, the role of the media in coverage of election matters cannot be underestimated. “Before the 2023 general elections, Judiciary Reporters had had the herculean task of covering pre-election matters from the Federal High Court up to the Supreme Court without any form of restriction on media houses.
“As customary, Nigerians and the international community are looking unto the media for the coverage of the 2023 Presidential Election Petition Court. “However, Judiciary Reporters were jolted on Friday, May 5, by a directive from the Court of Appeal that only a few of them would be permitted to cover the Presidential Election Petition Court. “The Court of Appeal directed the few media houses to pick Accreditation Cards from one Bukola Gar, who claimed to be Personal Assistant to the President, Court of Appeal. “It is instructive to note that Bukola Gar did not contact the leadership of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC) in Abuja before restricting some reporters from coverage of PEPC.