By Segun James
As controversy continues to trail the alleged killing of EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza in October, Cable News Network (CNN), Saturday told the resumed sitting of the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the incident that it will not honour the summons issued by the panel.
The CNN contended that it did not fall under the territorial jurisdiction of the panel, hence it will not appear before the panel.
In an objection filed through their lawyer, Olumide Babalola, the CNN, its reporter, Stephanie Busari, and her team, said the November 28 summons issued 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,” Babalola said.
The lawyer urged the panel to withdraw the summons issued on his clients and to instead, watch the CNN report on the Lekki shootings.
He said, “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 CNN, in a two-part report backed with pictures and video clips, indicted the Nigerian Army in the alleged killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
But the Federal Government condemned the CNN report, describing it as irresponsible, while the Nigerian Army denied shooting at or killing protesters.