20 February 2016

Nigeria: Ipob - Court Rejects Secret Trial of Kanu

FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday refused an application for secret trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

In his ruling, Justice James Tsoho, held that the application was not appropriate in the circumstances as the matter before the court is not a terrorism case.

He, however, barred the press from disclosing names and addresses of witnesses who will be testifying in the course of the trial.

The judge also retained an earlier order of February 9, which granted the request to allow family members and interested members of the public to attend the trial subject to the capacity of the court and security check of the people.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mohammed Diri, through a senior Counsel in the Ministry of Justice, David Kaswe, had in the application brought under Section 232 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and Section 36(4) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution, sought to restrain members of the public, except accredited members of the press from attending the trial.

The ‎DPP's counsel also requested the court to protect the identities of witnesses in the trial through facial masks and shields, use of pseudonyms as well as creation of different route for the witnesses.

But defence Counsel, Chuks Momah (SAN), objecting the application, argued that such action would amount to accusing someone in the open and trying him in the secret.


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