The National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC) Lagos branch has appealed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the President, Court of Appeal, the President, National Industrial Court, the Chief Judge, Federal High Court, the Chief Judges of the 36 states, and stakeholders in the justice sector to assist in the provisions of Press Centres in all the courts across the country where there is none.
The association noted that courts in the 21st century are being built without Press Centres and Galleries for journalists assigned to the judiciary beat and urged the concerned stakeholders to include Press Centres in all the courts across the country.
NAJUC stated that the rules of court during the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires social distancing and the constraint of space within the courtrooms are preventing journalists from effectively covering the judiciary beat.
“While this may not be deliberate on the part of the judiciary, we must urgently address the issue so as to preserve the constitutional role of the media viz a viz that of the third arm of government.
“Now is the time for both to work as partners in progress for a better society, both working together in harmony,” the group said in a letter signed by its Chairman, Mr Peter Fowoyo and addressed to the CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
In the letter, the group commiserated with the judiciary over losses it incurred following the violence that erupted during the #EndSARS protests, where the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, Lagos High Court and the Chief Magistrastes court, Igbosere were burnt by hoodlums.
It lamented that its Press Centre, which is within the premises of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, which was refurbished with a sum of N12million and commissioned by a representative of the Deputy Court Registrar (DCR) in October 2019, was among several other offices and buildings set ablaze by the hoodlums.
According to Fowoyo, items lost to the inferno include; furniture, computers, internet facility, air conditions, fridges, televisions and assorted drinks, among others.
He assured the CJN of the associations continues cooperation and commitment towards a symbiotic relationship that has hitherto existed between the judiciary and the media.
Fowoyo thanked the Deputy Court Registrar, Mrs. Rashidat Rasheed for always accommodating the association.