The court order imposed on three Channels TV presenters by Justice Okon Abang of the Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja in July has been suspended.
The trio involved are Chamberlain Usoh, Gimba Umar and Nneotaobase Egbe. Under the ruling, they were to be prosecuted over the broadcasting of allegedly prejudicial material in respect of the trial of Chief Olisa Metuh, the former publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party.
The three presenters of the Sunrise Daily show on Channels TV were set to be arraigned for allegedly making prejudicial statements concerning Metuh’s court case for alleged fraud.
Usoh, Egne and Umar anchored the programme, in which they interviewed the lawyers from both sides of the case. These included Johnson Ojogbane of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, representing the prosecution, and Benchuks Nwosu, representing the defence.
During the trial, relating to allegations of money-laundering, the three presenters conducted themselves in a manner that Justice Okon Abang ruled was contemptuous and prejudicial to the court.
This led to an outburst by the judge, who said: “So Channels Television has become a court of law.”
As a result of this, they were to be arraigned before any court that had the same jurisdiction as the Federal High Court.
Justice Abang has now temporarily suspended the prosecution order while waiting for the outcome of an appeal that Channels TV has since filed against his July ruling.