FG seeks secret trial for three Boko Haram suspects

By The Citizen

The Federal Government on Monday asked an Abuja Federal High Court to conduct 'secret trial' for the three men charged with alleged links with the Boko Haram sect.

A Chief State Counsel, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mrs N.B Jones Nebo, who made the application, said it became necessary to protect the identity of its witnesses.

Three accused persons, Mohammed Yunus, Musa Umar and Salami Abdullahi, were arraigned on an eight-count charge bordering on terrorism.

They were arrested and detained in October 2013, for allegedly holding various meetings aimed at carrying out attacks across the country.

Nebo also said the prosecution's motion was brought pursuant to Sections 33 and 34 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2013, as amended, and Section 115 of the Evidence Act.

She argued that the application complied with Sections 36 and 203 of the Criminal Procedure Act which supported the non-disclosure of identities and names of witnesses.

Mr Hassan Liman, SAN, Mr James Ocholi, SAN, Mr Abdul Mohammed, counsel to the first, second and third accused, respectively, opposed the application.

They urged the court to dismiss the application, contending that it lacked merit.

Ocholi said, 'This application is in conflict with Section 36 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, which pertains to fundamental rights and fair hearing.

'Fundamental rights, public hearing and fair hearing cannot be separated.

'It is easier for a person to tell a lie in secret than in public as there will be nobody to correct them in secret, and also where there is no publicity, there is no justice.'

The judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, adjourned the case to March 18, for ruling.