The Federal Government witness in the in the trial of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, has been granted witness protection by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday gave an order permitting the witness to testify behind a screen.
Dasuki is being prosecuted before the court on seven counts of stealing Federal Government’s sophisticated weapons, illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling on the prosecution’s application for witness protection, ordered that the witnesses would be allowed to testify behind a screen to be provided by the court.
The judge ordered that the screen would be used in such a way that it would not shield the witnesses from being seen by him (the judge), the defendant, as well as the members of the prosecution and defence teams.
Members of the public will not to be allowed to see the witnesses.
In dismissing the objection of the defence to the application on Thursday, Justice Mohammed ruled that the application was in order since section 232(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allowed the use of a screen to be used by prosecution witnesses in cases pertaining to economic and financial crimes.
The judge ruled, “Section 232(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act permits the use of a screen in a charge of economic and financial crimes and money laundering.
“Therefore, the request is in order especially when it has not been shown that it will prejudice the defendant.”
The judge dismissed the grounds of objection by Dasuki’s lead counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), who argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process because a similar one filed by the prosecution in the same case had been dismissed by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
Justice Mohammed agreed with the lead prosecution counsel, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), who maintained that none of the prayers sought in the old application dismissed by Justice Ademola was asked for in the fresh application.
The judge noted that apart from asking for permission to allow its witnesses to testify behind a screen, the prosecution never sought any other prayer.
Justice Mohammed reiterated that none of the said prayers sought in the old application before Justice Ademola was sought in the fresh application.
He, therefore, ruled that the fresh application did not constitute an abuse of court process as alleged by Raji.
The judge fixed September 20 and 21 for trial.
Okpeseyi had during the hearing of the application on May 11, 2017 argued that there was a possible threat to the witnesses’ lives by the virtue of Dasuki’s current and previous positions.
Okpeseyi argued that there was the need to shield the identities of the prosecution from the public.
He said this was because the witnesses were operatives of the Department of State Services ‘carrying out covert operations on behalf of the Federal Government in various parts of the country and even beyond’.
Okpeseyi also noted that Dasuki’s status as a former senior military officer, an ex-aide-de-camp to a sitting President, a former NSA and a crown prince (of the Sokoto Emirate), collectively conferred a large followership on him (Dasuki).
He went further to argue that considering the defendant’s former and current positions, the witnesses, whom the prosecutor said had previously served under Dasuki, stood the risk of being harmed.
Dasuki’s lawyer, Raji, however, urged the court to view the alleged threat as mere ‘speculation’ without any evidence supporting it.
But the prosecutor insisted that the threat was real even as he alluded to an alleged inexplicable accident which he said had virtually incapacitated the principal prosecution witness in the case.
Source: (Punch Newspaper )
BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu Approves Full Reopening Of Lagos Markets
The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced the full reopening of all markets across the state to enhance trade and commerce and mitigate the hardship of recent times.
The statement was made available by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Gawat Jubril on Tuesday.
The Governor in the statement noted that both food markets and non-food markets can reopen every day of the week.
Recall that the state government had regulated the opening of the markets to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
In the statement on Tuesday, the Governor urged traders and their customers to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols for their safety.
#EndSARS Protests Politically Motivated – Kogi Governor
Bello made the statement when he featured on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday.
Bello said the protest was sponsored by politicians who are benefitting from the disruptions caused by the demonstrations across the country.
The governor said Nigerians do not need a soothsayer to tell them that the protests had a political undertone even after the government agreed to the demands of the agitators.
“Dear Nigerians, let me tell you, what is happening today, this so-called #EndSARS is politically motivated,” he said.
“Whether anybody says it or not, I am saying it once again and you can quote me anywhere, anyday and I will prove it to you.
“Why will you demand five items and you and granted and you refuse to take it.. which struggle, agitation or uprising across the world has ever succeeded without leadership?.
“100 per cent, I agree (with the agitations of the protesters) but if you look at what is happening today, you will have no option than to classify it as politically motivated”.
According to him, it is a “ploy to set we the youths of this country against one another.”
Hoodlums Loot Abuja NYSC Office
The National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) orientation camp in Kubwa, Abuja has been reportedly attacked by some hoodlums.
According to reports, the orientation camp was invaded in the early hour of Tuesday, October 27.
It was reported that the hoodlums upon arriving at the NYSC camp at about 9 am today, blocked the major roads, and ordered motorists to follow another route.
According to reports, the hoodlums were seen with mattresses, plastic chairs, rice, groundnut oil, and other items walking around the camp.
Military and police officers have cordoned off the area and there have been shooting there. A military helicopter is reportedly hovering around the area.
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