A former official of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to retract a statement attributed to him advocating the return of the much-reviled military Decree 2 from the early 1980s which permitted detention of journalists without trial.

In a statement issued in Abuja, Dele Atunbi, the immediate past Vice President of NUJ Zone B, described the advocacy in a democratic setting as coercive, oppressive and undemocratic.

The former labour leader strongly condemned the statement of the chairman, demanding to know what happened to the presumption of innocence and the constitutional right to fair hearing.

He pointed out that for an officer of the temple of justice to be advocating the detention of journalists without trial is unfortunate and unexpected from a purported interpreter of the law.

“As members of the fourth estate of the realm, we take judicial notice of this statement attributed to the high ranking member of the bench who should protect and respect fundamental human rights,” Mr. Atunbi said.  He added that the CCT Chairman, given his privileged position, should caution himself on his utterances concerning journalists who are patriotic in the discharge of their duties.

“As journalists we are quick to point the attention of the CCT Chairman to the fact that his advocacy is an infringement on our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said, demanding a retraction of what he called “this reprehensive and retrogressive” statement.

Justice Danladi Umar of the Code of Conduct Bureau

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