22 March 2019

Nigeria: Onnoghen - CCT Chairman Threatens to Jail Journalists Over Alleged Misrepresentation of Proceedings

Abuja — The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, Thursday threatened to jail journalists with jail over alleged misrepresentation of proceedings at the tribunal's last sitting.

Umar was visibly angry that some journalists had reported allegation by Onnoghen that his assets declaration form were in loose form suggesting that they may have been tampered with.

He said this was not what transpired and warned that he would not hesitate to send to prison anyone who misrepresents facts on the tribunal's proceedings.

"The last proceedings was on Monday March 18. That day Onnoghen's counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), said the asset declaration forms were in loose form but they were admitted in evidence," Umar explained.

He said, the following day, Tuesday March 19, some papers published the following headlines: "Onnoghen accuses FG of mutilating his asset declaration form; Drama as Onnoghen accuses FG of tampering with asset form,"

"Pilot wrote that 'Onnoghen accuses FG of doctoring asset declaration form," he added.

"This I consider mischievous, distortion of facts, misrepresentation of what transpired when the defence counsel said the asset declaration forms look loose.

"You are very lucky today, I would have used the full wrath of this tribunal to summon you; send those who reported this misrepresentation of facts to prison", the chairman threatened.

While stating that such reportage offends the professional conduct of journalism, Umar added that he would not hesitate to deal decisively with any journalist who go about making misrepresentative statement during this proceedings.

"I have already summoned the special squad to pick those reporters to prison, henceforth, any journalist or paper carrying concocted and discredited not made by this tribunal.

"I will not hesitate to bring the full wrath of the law and commit them to prison. The consequence is that they will languish there. It is contemptuous", he said.

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