A Tudun Wada Lower Shari’ah Court sitting at Kanwuri in Sokoto metropolist, on Thursday, barred journalists from covering proceedings without obtaining formal approval from the Court Registrar.
Trial Judge, Bashir Rufa’i, made the order when a Lawyer standing on an inheritance case, Mr M. K Abdulkadir, informed the judge of presence of journalists covering the proceedings.
The inheritance case was instituted by Salisu Yusuf and defendants were Habibu Yusuf, Ibrahim Yusuf, Maimuna Yusuf, Abubakar Yusuf and Shehu Yusuf, all families of late Yusuf Muhammad (OON).
The judge had requested Malam Habibu Harisu of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Muhammad Nasir of Radio Nigeria, to identify themselves and how they came into the court.
He then directed the Correspondents to apply formally to the Court Register before covering cases that would be publicised by their respective media organisations.
He however said Journalists could sit and listen to cases as any other Nigerian, but not to publicise proceedings, adding that same directive applied to other Reporters that came to the Court.
When contacted by telephone for his reaction to the directive, Sokoto State’s Attorney General, Mr Suleiman Usman (SAN), could not pick his call and did not responded to text message on the matter.
However, a Lecturer with the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, and a Legal Practitioner, Mr Mansur Aliyu, said he was not aware of such directives in law.
Aliyu said Nigerian constitution recognised court as public place and that every Nigerian was at liberty to witness proceedings, including Journalists, who had legitimate duty to inform the public.
He added that provided the Journalist did not misled public or distorted facts from the proceedings or otherwise peculiar considerations, there were no restrictions.
According to him, lawful sanctions await any person, including Journalist, that distorts facts, or circulated wrong information on Court proceedings. (NAN)