New Telegraph

You lack powers over us, CNN tells Nigeria

Snubs Lagos #EndSARS panel

Cable News Network (CNN) has practically thumbed its nose at the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Plaza, on the night of October 20, saying it was not bound by Nigerian laws regarding the probe.

Responding to a summons issued on it to appear before, CNN, specifically contended that it did not fall under the territorial jurisdiction of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to warrant being summoned to appear before the panel.

The news network, had been at a loggerheads with the Federal Government, which had a fortnight ago fired a petition to its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, complaining about its two-part report backed with pictures and video clips, implicated the Nigerian Army in the alleged killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza.

But in a reply to the panel, which had invited it to apparently substantiate the report and help it to reach to the true happening on the said incident, the outfit, rejected the invitation, through its lawyer, Olumide Babalola.

Babalola, in stressing the defence of the outfit on behalf of 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.

 “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.”

The lawyer was quoted as saying on Saturday, that he had met the panel and reiterated CNN’s objection to the summons, adding that the panel eventually agreed to excuse CNN from appearing to testify before it, noting that it would record the objection in its final report.

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