Lagos Court vacates subpoena on BBC reporter over Codeine

Lagos Court vacates subpoena on BBC reporter over Codeine

Federal High Court in Lagos, vacated a subpoena on, a journalist, with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) following an application, by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).


The court vacated the subpoena in the trial of, Chukwunonye Madubuike, following an application by NAFDAC prosecutor, Washington Adume.


Madubuike is, charged with dealing on unwholesome products.

Lagos Court


He was, re-arraigned on March 14, 2019, before Justice Maureen Onyetenu, on a one-count of selling Emzolyn with codeine cough syrup.


However, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and, was granted bail.


In 2018, a ban was placed on the production and importation, of cough syrup containing codeine, after a BBC undercover investigation.


BBC investigation: “sweet sweet codeine”, by a reporter, Adejuwon Soyinka, showed the syrup was sold in the black market, to be used by young Nigerians; To “get high”.

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A joint probe by the BBC’s investigation unit, Africa Eye, and BBC Pidgin, prompted the ban.


Consequently, NAFDAC arraigned the defendant in 2018; Before Justice Babs Kuewumi, who had been, transferred to the Ado-Ekiti division of the court.


In 2019, Justice Onyetenu granted the issuance of a subpoena to compel the BBC journalist to come and, testify in court.


Meanwhile, lawyers to the BBC reporter had filed a motion, seeking to dismiss the “subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum” (commanding or ordering, a person to appear and; Bring specified documents or, records… to give testimony), issued on Mr. Soyinka.

entitled to freedom of expression


In the motion, they had averred that the reporter was, entitled to freedom of expression and; Also had the right not to disclose sources of information used in reports.


Mrs Onyetenu was, again transferred out of the Lagos jurisdiction and, the defendant was, re-arraigned before a new judge, Justice Akintayo Aluko.


However, when the case was, called on Wednesday, the prosecutor, urged the court to vacate the subpoena issued by the previous judge, on the reporter.

Moreover, Mr. Adume argued that when the case was, charged to court, the reporter was, invited to come and, testify; but, he refused… proved hostile, in spite of the issuance of a subpoena.

vacate the subpoena


He urged the court to vacate the subpoena, so as to make progress in the trial.



The court, consequently, granted the application and vacated the subpoena.


Justice Onyetenu adjourned the case until July 13.


In the charge, the defendant was, alleged to have committed the offence on April 24, 2018.

sold Emzolyn


Madubuike was, accused of selling Emzolyn with, codeine cough syrup, at Sheraton Hotel, Akiti Avenue, Lagos; A place not licensed or, registered by the appropriate authority.




About The Author

Chuks Ofurum is a staff of 1ST NEWS. He writes the weekly column "The Mouthpiece". [email protected]

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