Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Court Admits DVDs Showing Ndume's Contact With Sect

The Federal High Court on Friday in Abuja admitted three DVDs which contained the records of communication between Sen. Ali Ndume and members of the Boko Haram sect as a secondary evidence.

Ndume (PDP-Borno) is standing trial for alleged link with the Boko Haram Sect.

Delivering the ruling on the issue on Friday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the court did not find any substantial issues of merit in the objection raised against their admission.

The judge said, "It would have made some legal sense if the items were tendered by any person other than the maker.

"The DVDs are admitted in evidence and the contents shall be accessed in the course of the trial.

"Although, Section 36 of the Constitution guides against the divulge of records of personal consumption which includes all electronic generated information.

"But then, Section 43 (1) (a) (b) of the same Constitution however makes it mandatory for network providers to release such records in relation to investigation of criminal matters."

On the argument that the items bore no certification, Kolawole held that not all records sought to be tendered in court were obliged to be certified, adding that some classified records were not meant for the public.

Ndume had insisted that his link with the group was necessitated by his membership of the Presidential Committee on Security set up to restore peace in the troubled North eastern part of the country.

Mr RickeyTarfa (SAN), Counsel to Ndume, had argued that the items being secondary evidence should have been accompanied by a statement.

He submitted that the items did not qualify to be admitted, and that the move was a violation of the Evidence Act.

Tarfa said that the evidence neither carried the signature of the witness nor any form of identification to show its originality.

He further submitted that the evidence sought to be tendered lacked the description of the maker and certification to show its source.

Mr Thompson Olatigbe, Counsel to the Prosecutor (SSS) had prayed the court to refuse the submission of the defence counsel, saying that the three DVDs contained the information on the two mobile telephones before the court.

He argued that the items would assist the court to arrive at quick dispensation of the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SSS on Dec.12 told the court that Ndume's call log showed that he communicated with Mohammed Konduga (a convict) 73 times in a month.

Mr Aliyu Usman, a forensic expert with the SSS, while giving evidence said that the history of the communication contacts was contained in the two mobile telephones obtained from Ndume and Konduga

NAN further reports that Konduga, who was alleged to be a former spokesman of the sect, was currently serving a three year jail term, after he pleaded guilty to the charges filed by the SSS.

The case was adjourned to Feb. 7 and Feb. 11, 2013 for continuation of trial.

NAN

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