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Court rejects secret trial for Dasuki, says no witness protection

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has denied the Federal Government’s bid to conduct secret trial for former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (RTD).

Dasuki is being tried for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering proffered against him in September 2015. 

The Court said that there was no point for the witnesses to testify in the matter wearing masks and bearing pseudo names and addresses in a bid to facilitate their protection.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that the federal government had in the charge against Dasuki listed the names and addresses of 11 witnesses to be called to testify against him.

It has also made same available to the general public and as such there was no basis for any hide and seek game in Dasuki’s trial.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola made observation while delivering ruling in an application for secret trial.

The judge also said that there was no basis to grant the request of government to make the witnesses wear special mask, bear pseudo names and addresses.

That is because the charges were not terrorism charges. 

Also, there was no information that the life of any of the witnesses billed to be called was being threatened by anybody of group.

The Court held that it has discretion to look into such issues of protection of witnesses in a criminal matter.

However, such discretion must be judicially and judiciously used only in cases where threat to life has been established by the prosecution.

In the Dasuki case, Justice Ademola said that government failed to establish any fact that life of its witnesses was being threatened.

As such, no court of law would accede to such requests without established reason.

The Judge had earlier on also turned down an application filed by the former NSA asking that the charges brought against him be quashed.

The demand is because the federal government has continued to keep him in detention in contempt of the court.

The court, alternatively, ordered the Federal Government and its agents, the Department of States Security Service (DSS) to, henceforth, allow the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki has unfettered access.

He is to be granted access to his lawyers and family members in the interest of justice and the rule of law.

Trial has been adjourned till May 18 and 19, 2016

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