Magistrate orders journalists not to cover proceedings

LAGOS — Less than a month after an Ikeja Magistrate, in Lagos, ordered policemen to beat up journalists covering a matter in her court, a Cele, Ijesa, Magistrate in Lagos, yesterday, barred journalists from covering a matter in her court.

She said newsmen can only seat and observe proceedings in court, but warned them not to publish a matter still in her court.

The case in question is that between ambulance operators in Mushin and Idi-Araba areas of Lagos, against one Babatunde Kuranga, Chairman, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH’s branch of Non-Academic Staff Union.

Magistrate D. Olatokun, who in her chamber, noted that Vanguard’s reporter, failed to identify himself to her, despite identifying himself to the Court Registrar, condemned the publication of a previous story on the matter.

When the prosecutor in the matter, drew the court’s attention to the presence of Vanguard’s reporter and one Mr Eneje Charles, a lawyer, said to be from The Source Magazine, the magistrate argued that her name was not needed in publications.

The said prosecution, had told the court that following the publication, Kuranga had been on suspension, praying the court to stop media report of the case.

But the magistrate, who had a copy of the Vanguard report, read out its first paragraph, “Ambulance operators in Mushin and Idi-Araba areas of Lagos, who protested over alleged extortion and molestation by some staff of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, were, Monday, arraigned before a Cele Magistrate’s Court, Lagos,” and noted that same was indicting.

In a short ruling,  Olatokun said: “I have looked at the publications on the matter that is in this court. My ruling is that no publication should be made on the matter anymore, while the matter is still in court.”

It will be recalled that the earlier reports were on the arraignment of some persons, said to have on May 23, at 45, Onifade Street, Mushin, in Mushin Magisterial District did conspired with others now at large to commit felony contrary to and punishable under Section 516 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap. 38 Vol. II Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2004.

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Magistrate orders journalists not to cover proceedings