The Federal High Court on Tuesday in Abuja approved Federal Government’s request to protect the identities of prosecution witnesses in the trial of detained Pro-Biafran leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Giving ruling in the motion filed by Mohammed Labaran, counsel to government, Justice Binta Nyako held that the application was meritorious.
She said the prayer to shield the names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses who were largely security operatives was not a bad idea, adding that the law supported it.
“It is therefore the court’s order that the names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses shall only remain with the court. The prosecution witnesses who should appear in combination of alphabets will be given screens, which will be provided by the court. The defendants and their counsel will however be able to see the witnesses before they testify,’’ Nyako held.
Kanu immediately rejected the court ruling, insisting that it was against the tenets of justice and fair-hearing.
“I won’t stand this travesty of justice. Buhari spoke in public, he accused me in public. I must also be allowed to stand my trial in public,” Kanu said from the dock.
“Please sit down and allow me to handle this issue. I am your counsel. You briefed me to represent you, so please, allow me to handle it. I did not travel all the way from Aba for you to take over the brief, unless you want to debrief me”, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chuks Mouma, SAN, pleaded with him.
Shortly after the court fixed January 10, 11 and 12 January to commence the trial, Kanu, who could no longer bottle his anger, flared up again, saying he would, in the course of the trial, expose things that would sink Nigeria.
“This is nonsense. I will give testimony before this court. By the time I finish, there will be no Nigeria. This is no Sharia court. It is a court that operates under the common law. There will be no screening of witnesses, no fake identities or fake addresses. I cannot be tried in secret. No. Nnamdi Kanu cannot be jailed in secret. They are mad. Why must I be tried in secrecy by a government that does not obey court orders. They are killing my people in public. After killing my people, they want to try me in private? That person is mad. I won’t allow it,“ Kanu bellowed.