A mild drama played out at the Ota High court premises in Ogun state on Tuesday, September 15, as a mysterious snake forced a judge to release 7 detained journalists.
According to Vanguard report, a judge attached to the state High Court 1, Ota, Ogun state, Justice N. I. Agbelu had ordered the journalists to be arrested and detained for allegedly filming the court premises without his consent.
The detained journalists, Daud Olatunji(Vanguard), Samuel Awoyinfa(The Punch), Ernest Nwokolo(The Nation), Abiodun Taiwo(Daily Times) , Sulaiman Fasasi(Nigerian Pilot ), Wale Adelaja(TVC) and Johnson Akinpelu(Alaroye) had arrived the court at about 11:44a.m. to cover two proceedings involving victims of Pakoto demolition and killing in Oke – Ore community.
A police orderly had identified them as men of the press and left them alone.
Not long after, a woman, said to be the assistant court registrar accosted them, asking to see a letter of authorisation from the Chief Judge or a senior judiciary officer permitting them to enter the court premises.
When they could not provide an authorization letter, she went to the judge and came back, saying the judge had ordered their arrest.
They were detained inside the administrative wing of the court for three hours from 11:45am to 2:44am.
However, an incident involving a mysterious snake set them free.
A poisonous snake reportedly emerged from the bushy court premises and bit one of the male judiciary staff, throwing the court into pandemonium.
The judge had no other choice but to release the detained journalists.
Before sending them away, Justice Agbelu ordered for them to be brought to his office where he reprimanded them.
He said: “I put you under arrest. You are under arrest. You will discover that this compound is fenced round, is that not so? It is not on the major road that you can just come in. If you are representing the public interest, you must know we have a head in this court. I am a judge and I have an unlimited jurisdiction in the state. I can even say somebody should be arrested without question, but, in exercising my power, I have to inquire into many things.
“If we said you are trespassing into our land, do you have any defence answer me now? I am telling you it it not a public place I am telling you, the court is not a public place.”
According to him, their offence was that they invaded the court premises and started filming the premises without his permission.
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