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Amnesty International condemns media restrictions over Kanu’s trial

Global human rights body Amnesty International has condemned the Federal Government’s restriction on media agencies to report Nnamdi Kanu’s trial. 

Recall NewsWireNGR had earlier reported that the Federal Government through the Department of State Services (DSS) and Federal High Court, Abuja initially accredited only 10 media houses and journalists to cover court proceedings of the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu slated for Monday, July 26, 2021.  

It further granted access to more select media houses on Monday morning. 

The accredited list was contained in a document dated July 23, 2021. It listed the 10 media organisations and journalists accredited for the coverage of the trial. The document was signed by Catherine Oby Christopher, Chief Information Officer, Federal High Court of Nigeria.  

Those accredited include Daily Independent (Paschal Njoku), Premium Times (Ameh Ejekwonyilo), Thisday (Alex Enumah), The Nation (Eric Ikhilae), The Herald (Kayode Lawal), and the News Agency of Nigeria (Taiye Agbaje).  

For broadcast media, listed are the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA-Vera Chiwuba), Channels Television (Ella Daniels), Africa Independent Television (Wunmi Obabori), and TVC (Tina Iria).  

Reacting to the development,  Amnesty International said restricting access to the coverage of the trial was an attempt to deny people the right to know. 

It further called on the federal government to respect the right to fair hearing and immediately lift the restriction and allow the media unhindered access to the court. 

The statement read; “Amnesty International condemns Nigerian authorities’ restriction of the number of journalists that can report the trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, which started today in Abuja. 

“Selecting few journalists to cover the trial is a restriction on access to information and an attempt to deny people the right to know. It also violates all fair hearing guarantees. 

“We call on the Nigerian authorities to respect the right to fair hearing and immediately lift the restriction and allow the media unhindered access to the court to do their job. This is yet another bizarre and unacceptable attack on the Nigerian media that must not stand.” 

Meanwhile, the trial of Nnamdi Kanu on Monday hit a brick wall as the trial Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the trial to October 21.  

This development was over the failure of the Department of State Services,  DSS on Monday failed to produce him before the Federal High Court in Abuja. 

Giving a reason for the absence of Kanu, Government lawyer, M. B. Abubakar, told the court that it was due to “logistical problems”. 

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