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Criminal charges re-filed against Nigerian journalists

On June 24, 2013, the Nigerian government re-filed criminal charges of alleged forgery against two journalists, Mr. Tony Amokeodo, the group news editor and Mr. Chibuzo Ukaibe, a political correspondent with Leadership newspapers.

The government's lead lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), re-filed the charges having – on June 21, 2013 – filed an ex-parte application seeking leave of the court to prefer the 11-count charge of alleged forgery against the journalists. Justice U. A. Musale, of the Abuja High Court in Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory, granted leave to the government to file the charges

A court bailiff, accompanied by lawyers from Chief Awomolo's law chambers, went to the Leadership newspaper office on June 24, 2013 at about 2:45 pm to serve the new charge on the journalists.

The alleged forgery charges brought against the journalists was over a story in the Leadership newspaper titled “Outrage Trail Presidential Directive on Tinubu, APC”, which was published on April 3, 2013 and a full copy of the presidential directive, published on April 4 and captioned “Bromide of the Presidential Directive”.

The charges were previously filed before Justice Adeniyi Ademola – of a Federal High Court in Abuja – who struck out the case on May 2, 2013 following the withdrawal of the six-count charge by the government's lawyer, Chief Awomolo.

Justice Musale however, granted them bail after they pleaded not guilty. He admitted them to bail in the sum of N500,000 (about US$3,226) each with one surety, each who must be a reasonable person.

The court thereafter adjourned the case to July 16, 2013, for hearing.

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