Federal High Court Bars Media And Others From Terrorism Trials

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There will be no more media coverage for cases bordering on terrorism, the Federal High Court of Nigeria has said.

The court’s Chief Information Officer, Dr Catherine Christopher, announced this in a statement on Thursday while outlining FHC’s new practice directions.

Terrorism proceedings, according to the statement, will be conducted in secret except when the Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, grants permission for media coverage.

It stated that terrorism proceedings will hold at any place to be designated by the chief judge and in the case of the Abuja Judicial Division, the venue, for the time being, would be the premises of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The court warned that anyone who contravenes an order or direction made under the practice directions would be deemed to have committed an offence contrary to Section 34(5) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended).

It said the perimeters of the court sitting over a terrorism trial would be secured for the period of the trial for the safety of litigants and court officials, while distance and size of perimeters to be secured for the trial would be determined based on the recommendation of security agencies on a case-by-case basis.

The court stressed that nobody would be allowed within the secured perimeters, except the approved court officials, parties, and a number of pre-registered legal practitioners on either side, witnesses, and any other person as may be directed by the judge or the most senior judge in the given circumstances.