BREAKING! The ban of mobile phones and gadgets inside the court room has been lifted
Thank you Obidients for speaking
The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, Nigeria, has announced that phones and gadgets will not be allowed inside the courtroom during hearings, starting from Monday, May 22, 2019. A notice posted on the court’s entrance door on Friday, May 17, 2019, gave details on the restriction. This restriction has raised eyebrows especially since the Court of Appeal in Nigeria must decide whether to allow live coverage of the election petition scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2019. The move has fueled suspicion and skepticism, with social media users assuming the tribunal might be biased. Nigerians are counting on a fair and transparent outcome from the tribunal.
The PEPT hearing has generated significant interest among Nigerians, with updates on each step of the proceedings making the rounds on social media. Public interest and participation are setting the tone for the outcome of the hearing. Therefore, the general perception is that a ban on phones and gadgets inside the courtroom eliminates transparency and openness in the PEPT hearing.
According to Ndi Kato, on Twitter: “We are seeking to have live broadcast of the Election Tribunal on TV stations, but the court which we are depending on for that ruling has now banned phones in the court. Which way Nigeria? Why is our judiciary like this?”
Many Nigerians believe the restriction on phones is a signal that the court may rule against live transmission, which the people demand for accountability and openness in the proceedings. Twitter user, Chinwe Duruaku-Agu, stated: “The court should rule in favour of livestreaming then to cushion this.”
While some may believe that mobile phones and gadgets will not affect the transparency of the PEPT hearing, the majority of Nigerians believe that the ruling will not favour public accountability.