By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos

 

There was drama at a Lagos Magistrates' Court, Igbosere, after the presiding Chief Magistrate, Mr. H.O Amos told reporters they were not welcome in his courtroom.

Drama as magistrate bars reporters from court coverage

By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos

 

There was drama at a Lagos Magistrates’ Court, Igbosere, after the presiding Chief Magistrate, Mr. H.O Amos told reporters they were not welcome in his courtroom.

 

He stated this while supporting his registrar, who has on three occasions walked journalists out of the courtroom.

 

Trouble started on Monday after the registrar approached reporters who were in court for the day’s business and told them to leave.

 

Immediately the court rose after presiding over the arraignment of two defendants, Musa Abdullahi and Abubakar Musa- in an alleged £20,000 theft case, the registrar approached the reporters asking if they were parties in the case.

 

“No, we are journalists,” replied the three female who were parking up to leave the courtroom, like lawyers and parties.

 

But the registrar retorted: “It’s just that I did not know. I would not have allowed you people in. Journalists are not allowed to cover this court. You are not welcome here.”

 

The angry reporters fought back and queried the registrar for the statement, reminding her that the court was a public place.

 

The argument drew the Magistrate’s attention, who came to the courtroom and reechoed the registrar’s words.

 

Again, he was reminded that the court was a public place and opened to everyone but Magistrate Amos told the reporters to get a written approval from the Chief Registrar of Igbosere before they can be allowed into his court.

 

“What I am saying is that, for journalists to enter and cover my court, you must bring a written approval from the Chief Registrar, otherwise, you are not allowed.

 

“Even if you have been covering these court for years and matters like this have been addressed, you can only be permitted in my court when you bring written approval from the CR,” said Magistrate Amos.

 

All effort to get the Chief Registrar of the state Judiciary, Magistrate Ogundare to comment on this issue failed, as he neither answered his call nor returned a text message sent to his mobile phone.

 

Earlier, the two defendants were alleged to have conspired to steal the £20,000 (N8.2million) from one Rabiu Hamisu on January 27, at Eko Hotels in Victoria Island.

Prosecuting Corporal Cyriacus Osuji said the defendants converted   said money to their personal use thereby committed under Sections 409 and 285 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011.

 

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail on N200,000 each with two sureties in like sum.

 

Magistrate Amos adjourned the case to March 2, for mention.

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