Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Danladi Umar has said he was merely joking when he made the comment about the return of decree 2 to regulate the practice of journalism in the country during Tuesday’s session of the court.
Umar was quoted as advocating for the return of decree 2 during the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, as a way of checking journalists he said deliberately misrepresented his comments about the court’s adjournment.
In a press statement released on Wednesday by Ibrahim Alhassan, the Public Relations Officer of the Tribunal, the public was urged to see the statement as a joke made in good faith and not to obstruct the practice of journalism in the country.
The statement read in part: “The statement by the Chairman was made out of joke, not to intimidate any member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm in this country from observing their statutory functions as mandated by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as anchored in liberal democratic society like ours. The Chairman only cracked the joke following his discovery that some media organisations had in their report claimed that his tribunal had adjourned the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on false declaration of assets indefinitely.”
Alhassan stated that the CCT Chairman is a law-abiding citizen who appreciates the role of the media and would not do anything to hinder media practitioners from doing their legitimate jobs.
He noted that there has not been any conflict between the media and the CCT Chairman since the beginning of the high profile trial of the Senate President.
The statement also said the CCT Chairman never threatened the senators who had accompanied Saraki to the trial, but had only cautioned the people on the gallery to stop interjecting into the proceeding of the tribunal.
Counsel to the federal government, Rotimi Jacobs had complained that some people from the gallery were shouting him down, prompting the tribunal Chairman to caution that whoever exhibited unruly behavior would be made to face contempt of the tribunal.
Decree 2 was enacted when the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, was military head of state in 1984. The decree gave the chief of Staff at the Supreme Headquarters powers to detain for up to six months without trial anyone considered a security risk.