An Enugu High Court Judge, Justice Eno Oluedo, on Tuesday confiscated the identity cards of two journalists from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
Oluedo also caused the journalists, Mr Vincent Okwor, the Zonal Manager of the agency in the South East, and Mr Nicholas Obisike, a reporter, to wait for the identity cards until 5 p.m. when they were told that she had gone home through the back door.
She had earlier on Moday ordered the seizure of Obisike’s notebook and mobile telephone for not taking permission to cover the proceedings of her court.
The judge ordered the confiscation of the identity cards following a complaint by the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr Kenechukwu Chukwuma-Eneh, that stories from the agency were published online.
According to Chukwuma-Eneh, the names of the judge, prosecution and defence counsels are always appearing in the internet, especially in the case involving a former boxer, Ikechukwu Okoronkwo.
“I see all the stories involving Okoronkwo online and print media. I also see the two reporters following the case in the state high court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court.
“This is a contempt of court because they are not supposed to cover the proceedings,’’ he said.
The zonal manager, in his reaction, said he had always obtained permission from all the courts in the state for the coverage of proceedings.
“I wonder why this case is different. We have not published anything contrary to the proceedings in Okoronkwo’s case or any other case in the various courts in the state.
“Besides, a court is a public place for everyone to cover or visit if need be provided you comply with its rules,’’ Okwor said.
The court was still in possession of the reporters’ identity cards at the close of work on Tuesday.