Amnesty International (AI) has condemned the selection of only 10 media organisations to cover the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which resumes on Monday.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, in a letter dated July 23, said only a few listed journalists will be allowed to enter the court premises.
The letter listed only 10 media organisations.
Security agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force were given copies of the list.
Journalists whose names were not on the prepared list were not allowed near the court premises on Monday.
Writing via its Twitter handle on Monday, the human rights watchdog, said selecting a few journalists to cover the proceedings “violates all fair hearing guarantees”.
“Amnesty International condemns Nigerian authorities’ restriction of the number of journalists that can report the trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, which started today in Abuja,” the statement reads.
“Selecting few journalists to cover the trial is a restriction on access to information and an attempt to deny people the right to know. It also violates all fair hearing guarantees. We call on the Nigerian authorities to respect the right to fair hearing and immediately lift the restriction and allow the media unhindered access to the court to do their job. This is yet another bizarre and unacceptable attack on the Nigerian media that must not stand,” Amnesty International stated.
In June, Kanu was arrested and extradited to Nigeria to face trial after jumping bail in 2017.
The IPOB leader is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony brought against him by the Federal Government for his campaign for a “Republic of Biafra”.
His trial resumes on Monday at the federal high court in Abuja
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