The Nigerian Government through the Department of State Services (DSS) has accredited only ten media organisations for the coverage of the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) slated for Monday, July 26th.
Kanu, who was re-arrested in controversial circumstances in faraway Kenya, will be facing charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, illegal possession of arms, among others, before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
DSS, which has kept Kanu in its custody, restricted the number of media organisations to cover the trial to 10, to limit its coverage.
Those accredited include Daily Post, Premium Times, Thisday, The Nation, The Herald, and Daily Independent newspapers while the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is leading the broadcast side.
Other broadcast media are Channels Television, Africa Independent Television, and TVC.
Also, the hearing of enforcement of fundamental rights suit filed by the five activists arrested at Dunamis International Gospel Centre (Glory Dome) by DSS operatives on July 4 will come up before Justice Obiora Egwuatu.
The trial judge had ordered the DSS to produce the activists in court on July 26th while ruling on the ex parte motion filed by their lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi.
SaharaReporters had reported how DSS operatives on Sunday blocked all the roads leading to the court and prevented human and vehicular movements in the area.
Meanwhile a human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore has described the action of DSS to censor and limit the media coverage of the trial as an affront and crime on the press freedom, adding that the DSS has no right to accredit journalists covering the trial.
He stated this in a post on his Twitter handle and Facebook page: “DSS has no right to accredit journalists covering #FreeDunamis5 #FreeNnamdiKanuNow. Lawless DSS has ‘accredited’ only 10 media houses to cover @MaziNnamdiKanu’s trial, it will be a shame and a crime against #freepress for any independent news source to apply to DSS for accreditation. This is highly condemnable and embarrassing! #BuhariMustGo #RevolutionNow.
#FreeDunamis5 #FreeNnamdiKanuNow Lawless DSS had â€œaccreditedâ€ only 10 media houses to cover @MaziNnamdiKanu trial, it will be a shame and a crime against #freepress for any independent news source to apply to DSS for accreditation. This is highly condemnable and embarrassing! pic.twitter.com/XFnt7VnGXF
— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) July 25, 2021
“These media houses must withdraw from this sabotage of free press. The DSS has no right to engage in the accreditation of media houses to cover a public trial in a Federal High Court in Nigeria. The judiciary should be ashamed that its independence has been compromised completely by the executive.”