Update: Why Nigerian government dropped forgery charges against Leadership Newspapers journalists

Federal prosecutors were forced to drop forgery charges against Leadership Newspapers reporters due to a legal blunder in their prosecution.

The prosecutors hurriedly withdrew their charges, filed at a Federal High Court, Abuja, after the reporters’ counsel, Femi Falana, challenged the appropriateness of the court to hear the matter.

Mr. Falana argued that forgery is a ‘state’ offence and cannot be tried in a federal court, forcing the federal prosecutors to withdraw the case.

Immediately they were served with the filings, the prosecutors withdrew the case, a knowledgeable source about the trial told PREMIUM TIMES.

The source explained that the government is expected to re-file the case at an Abuja High Court, the appropriate court for the case. He said the reporters may be re-arrested before the new suit is filed at the Abuja court.

Two journalists of Leadership Newspapers, Tony Amokeode and Chibuzor Ukaibe, alongside the Newspaper, were charged with forging President Goodluck Jonathan’s seal on a document that accused the presidency of witch-hunting opposition leaders.

Leadership Newspapers has said it stands by its story.

The federal government had, before charging the journalists to court, been routinely condemned locally and internationally for harassing the journalists and detaining them without trial. Security officials had tried to force the journalists into disclosing their source for the document and the story.

JD: Could this have anything to do with Femi Falana’s visit to The President?