Why journalists were barred from covering Sotitobire’s case

Journalists have continued to express shock over decision of an Akure Magistrate’s Court to bar them from covering the ongoing trial of the founder of Sotitobire Church, Alfa Babatunde, in the case of a missing child.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday in Akure, journalists from different media organisations who came to cover the proceedings, were not allowed into the courtroom.

No explanation was given for this action, which has continued to elicit reactions from different quarters.

Prophet Alfa Babatunde is standing trial over the disappearance of a year-old boy, Gold Kolawole in his church in November last year.

The Chief Magistrate asked journalists to step out of the courtroom.

Prior to the action of the magistrate, the police prosecutor, Mr Uloh Goodluck, had approached the journalists to leave the courtroom but the journalists refused on the ground that the prosecutor did not have the power to send anybody out of the court.

After the refusal to vacate the courtroom, the policeman was said to have headed to the magistrate’s chamber and reported the matter to him.

Shortly after, the magistrate came out and ordered all the journalists in the court to leave without giving any reason.

It was however gathered that journalists were barred because the audio recording of the first proceeding was released on social media.

A source hinted that the Magistrate was furious about this and ordered that journalists should not be allowed to cover further proceedings.