By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Justice Joseph Acha of Benin City High Court, on Wednesday, charged journalists covering court proceedings to be objective in their reportage and do proper investigation before going to the press.
He gave the charge while reaffirming his ruling he earlier delivered in the ongoing divorce suit between a businessman, Leemon Ikpea and his wife, Agnes Ikpea.
Leemon had filed a petition before the court, seeking dissolution of their marriage.
He prayed the court to restrain the respondent from causing violence against him, and also order the respondent to vacate their matrimonial house, located at Banana Island, Lagos state, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Acha who on February 17, 2021, granted the application of the petitioner, however, ordered him to provide suitable accommodation for his wife within Victoria Island, Lekki or anywhere convenient for her in Lagos outside Banana Island, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the trial Judge disclosed that a petition was written on behalf of the respondent to the Honourable Chief Judge, seeking a reassignment of this case to another court.
Acha who reasserted his stand on his previous ruling, pending the determination on the motion on notice, averred that the court was yet to receive the decision of the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Esther Edigin, upon petition by the respondent, Agnes Ikpea.
“More importantly after the last sitting of this court, a petition was written on behalf of the respondent to the Honourable Chief Judge, seeking reassignment of this case to another court.
“The petition was referred to me for my reaction, I responded and awaiting the directive of the Honourable Chief Judge on the next step.
“When you embark on a campaign of calumny, you are not doing the institutions any good. When you decided to malign people because of a matter that is not in your favour, I think you are only destroying the institution.
“The journalists, I think they have a duty to be objective in their reportage, they must be objective and do a proper investigation. A situation whereby they are doing the bidding of their paymaster will impinge on the integrity of their profession,” the Judge said.
Thereafter, he adjourned the suit till April 22 while awaiting the decision of the Chief Judge on the petition.