CNN Shuns Invitation by Lagos State Judicial Panel, States Reason

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In an objection filed through its lawyer, the Cable News Network, has shunned the invitation to appear before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry stating that it does not fall under the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The panel summoned CNN over its two-part report backed with pictures and video clips, which implicated the Nigerian Army in the alleged killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate.

The panel which is led by Justice Doris Okuwobi was set up to probe the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State on the night of October 20, 2020.

Reacting to the report, the Federal Government condemned the report stating that it was not balanced while the Nigerian Army denied being or shooting at protesters but the video released showed otherwise.

In an objection filed through their lawyer, Olumide Babalola, the CNN, its reporter, Stephanie Busari, and her team, said the November 28 summons issued on them was invalid as they were not within the geographical territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and do not have any physical or business presence in Nigeria.

“We submit that since the objectors are not ‘persons in Nigeria’ as envisaged by the provision of Section 5(c) of the Tribunals of Inquiry Law Of Lagos State, Cap. T6, then this Honourable Tribunal is, with respect, bereft of territorial jurisdiction to compel their attendance to give evidence before it.

“We rely on the decision in Joshua Dariye v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2015) LPELR-24398(SC), where the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that: Territorial jurisdiction implies a geographical area within which the authority of the court may be exercised and outside which the Court has no power to act,” Babalola said.

The lawyer urged the panel to withdraw the summons issued on his clients and to instead, watch the CNN report on the Lekki shootings.

He said, “The objectors respectfully refer the tribunal to the link for the published version of the story as reported on their website, ‘How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’ to aid the tribunal’s fact-finding mission.”

Source: Punch

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