Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, on Thursday, threatened to jail journalists over alleged misrepresentation of proceedings of the tribunal’s last sitting.
Umar was visibly angry that some journalists had reported allegation by he suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, that his assets declaration forms 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 of 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.”
He said, the following day, Tuesday March 19, some papers then said, “Onnoghen accuses FG of mutilating his asset declaration form. “Drama as Onnoghen accuses FG of tampering with asset form. Pilot wrote. Onnoghen accuses FG of doctoring asset declaration form.
“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 will not hesitate to deal decisively with any journalist who misrepresents the court 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 and commit them to prison.
“The consequences is that they will languish there. It is contemptuous”, he said