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Boko Haram: FG wants court to allow masked witnesses

By The Rainbow
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The Federal Government wants its witnesses to wear mask while giving testimony in the terrorism charge slammed against a Kogi State University lecturer, Dr. Nazeef Mohammed Yunus.

The government had earlier applied to the court for secret trial of the case.

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday for fixed May 14, 2014 for arguments on the application filed by the government to allow its witnesses to wear mask in the case of terrorism proffered against Yunus and nd two others.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, government's counsel, Mrs. N.B Jones Nebo, Chief State Counsel at the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, asked the court for an adjournment to enable her respond to the counter-affidavit of the accused persons.

Counsel to the lecturer (the first accused), Hassan Liman (SAN), however opposed the application of prosecution on the premise that it would delay accelerated hearing of the matter and asked the court to refuse it.

According to the Liman, the first accused has been in detention since October 31, 2013 when he was arrested.

The counsels to the two other accused persons, Musa Umar and Salami Abdullah, line behind the the submissions of the counsel to the first accused person.

The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, then adjourned till May 14 to hear arguments on the application filed by the prosecution and slated May 9, 10, 24, 25 and 26 for accelerated hearing of the matter.

The accused persons are currently facing trial for allegedly sponsoring activities of the Boko Haram sect.

The federal government had at the last adjourned date failed in its efforts to get the court to try the suspects in secret.

The trial judge, Justice Kolawole, had said, aid: 'I shall not shut down the entire court room, but shall make adequate provisions to shield the identities of the witnesses including personal securities for those who their families need to be concealed from the general public. 'The court will guarantee fair hearing to the accused persons and protection to the witnesses.'

The three accused persons were arraigned on an eight-count charge bordering on terrorism.