Nigeria bars media coverage of terrorism trials

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Nigerian federal court

Nigerian authorities have issued new guidelines for trials of persons charged with terrorism in the federal high court.

The measures include a ban on media coverage of court proceedings unless ordered by the trial judge, according to a statement from the Nigerian federal court.

Only judges, lawyers and parties to a case are to be allowed into courtrooms.

There will be tight security during such trials, with members of the public barred from accessing the perimeter distance around the court building.

The identities and contact details of victims and witnesses shall not be disclosed for their safety.

Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, the chief judge of the federal high court, gave the new ‘’Federal High Court practice directions’’ to ensure ‘’security and safety’’, the statement noted.

It said that any person who violates the guidelines “shall be deemed to have committed an offence contrary to the country’s anti-terrorism law”.

The authorities say the measures announced on Thursday take immediate effect.

It comes a day before the trial of Nnamdi Kanu – the leader of the outlawed separatist movement known as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (Ipob) – resumes.

A ruling on charges filed against him by the Nigerian government – relating to treason and terrorism – is expected on Friday in Abuja.

Mr Kanu’s group is agitating for a breakaway state of Biafra in south-east Nigeria. -BBC