A Magistrate Court in Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, has ordered Titilayo Emiabata, a woman infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by her husband, to not speak to the media about her ongoing court case.
Mrs. Emiabata, 30, discovered antiretroviral medications in the possession of her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Kazeem Owolabi Emiabata, and subsequently found medical records indicating that he had been living with HIV for a long period of time without disclosing his status to her.
She then received a medical examination and learned that she was infected with the virus.
After Mrs. Emiabata confronted her husband about the matter, Mr. Emiabata threw her out of her house. When she returned to retrieve her personal belongings, Mr. Emiabata used his influence as a naval officer to have his wife arrested for burglary.
She was detained in police custody for four day before being charged with ten counts bordering on housebreaking and stealing.
Commenting on the request raised by prosecuting counsel team to restrict Mrs. Emiabata from addressing the media, Senior Magistrate E. O. Idowu told the defendant and the counsel representing her, Inibehe Effiong, not to involve the press in the matter, claiming it could lead to trial by media.
“As professionals, let's try not to bring the media into this matter. The case is at the court and we should not give this trial to the media. Media trial will not beneficial in getting the right judgment in this case,” the judge said.
He adjourned the matter to October 24 for Mrs. Emiabata and her husband to provide witnesses.
Human rights groups have condemned the trial of Mrs. Emiabata, saying that she was arrested on bogus charges and is being persecuted for having the courage to stand up to her husband.