The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos–Nigeria condemns the unlawful arrest of Premium Times reporter Saviour Imukudo, by the police on the order of the Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Ekaette Obot while he was at the High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, today Wednesday, July 27th, 2022, to cover the defamation case between the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, and a lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong.
Reports reaching IPC Safety Alert Desk indicates that, Imukudo had identified himself as a reporter with Premium Times when Justice Obot ordered him to leave the courtroom.
“As he was walking out of the courtroom, the judge ordered the police officer to search him and confiscate his phone,” Premium Times Report added.
IPC condemns and states that this act by Justice Ekaette Obot is very worrisome. Covering court proceedings is part of the responsibilities of journalists, and this act sends a wrong signal to the media. The media who is the fourth realm of government must be accorded the highest level of dignity, and journalists should not be treated like mere criminals.
IPC is therefore calling for the immediate release of Imukudo who as at the time of this report was still being detained in Justice Obot’s court.
Press Freedom Officer, IPC