The Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar has stated that he was only joking with his advocacy for the return of decree 2 to regulate the practice of journalism in the country.
Mr. Umar said that contrary to the impression created in the media, he did not advocate for the Decree to harass, intimidate or arrest journalist or any Nigerian for whatever reason.
Umar had made a controversial comment at the end of Tuesday’s proceedings while pointing out a newspaper publication which said he adjourned the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki indefinitely.
He said “Journalists should be punished for publishing falsehood, it is a criminal offence.
“If not that we are under a democratic setting, I would have advocated for the retention of Decree No. 2.
“Just because they want to sell their papers and make money they publish falsehood.”
The decree which was popular under the military era, allowed for people seen as security risk to be detained for up to six months without trial
In a press statement yesterday, Public Relations Officer of the Tribunal, Ibrahim Alhassan, urged the public to regard the statement as a joke made in good faith and not to obstruct the practice of journalism in the country.
“The statement by the Chairman was made out of joke, not to intimidate any member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm in this country from observing their statutory functions as mandated by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as anchored in liberal democratic society like ours.
“The Chairman only cracked the joke following his discovery that some media organisations had in their report claimed that his tribunal had adjourned the trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on false declaration of assets indefinitely.
“The Chairman in his remarks without any bias or hatred said in the open court that the publication of adjournment sine die, meaning indefinitely adjournment was not true reflection of the decision of the tribunal when the adjournment issues was decided.
“We wish to state that the CCT Chairman as a law-abiding citizen recognises the role assigned to media practitioners by law and would not do anything to hinder the media practitioners from doing their legitimate jobs.
“It is also on record that there has been no conflict between the media and the CCT on one side and Chairman on the other side with the media practitioners since they have been covering the high profile trial on the Senate President.
“The Tribunal therefore appreciates the conducive working atmosphere of the media and the establishment and would not do anything that would hamper the smooth and cordial relationship between the two.
“Similarly, we also wish to state that the Chairman never threatened our distinguished senator but only cautioned the people on the gallery to behave and to stop interjecting into the proceeding of the tribunal.
“The Chairman’s caution was informed by complaint from the Federal Government Lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacob that he was been shouted down by some people from the gallery prompting the chairman to caution that whoever exhibit unruly behaviours would be made to face contempt of the tribunal.”