Abuja—The Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday resumed proceedings in the trial of dismissed ex- Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, and three other defendants behind closed doors.
This was stated by Justice Emeka Nwite who ordered journalists, lawyers in other cases and other litigants who were present to leave the courtroom before the commencement of proceedings, according to SaharaReporters.
The order was issued by Justice Nwite in response to an application by the lead prosecuting lawyer, Sunday Joseph of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
In his application, Joseph asked the court to keep the identities of his next set of witnesses from being revealed during the trial.
He asked that lawyers in other cases, litigants, visitors, and journalists in the court be barred from witnessing the proceedings.
Following the approval of Joseph’s application, Justice Nwite halted the proceedings to allow non-actors in the case to leave the courtroom.
Joseph told journalists that he filed the application to protect the witnesses, who are intelligent officers.
He added that “there is a doctrine of state privilege in the interest of national security.”
He stated that members of the Inspector-General (I-G) of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) who were loyal to Abba Kyari continued to appear in court.
“And, you don’t know who is who; so, it is for the witness’ protection. We are now going into the nitty gritty of the matter and there have been allegations that we are just witch-hunting them,” he said.
Although the prosecution had previously called witnesses, the lead prosecuting lawyer stated that the current set of witnesses needed to be protected because their identities could not be revealed to the public.
Although some lawyers who had cases in court objected to the decision, Justice Nwite asked for their patience.
The judge assured them that their cases will also be heard later, adding, “you can hang around. We are not going to take the matter through out the whole day. Please bear with.”