Biafra Court rejects FG's request for masked witnesses to testify against Kanu

Justice John Tsoho held that masking the witnesses would hide their attitude and countenance from the court.

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Nnamdi Kanu play

IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

(RBN Bloggers)
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In the ongoing trial of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, the the federal high court in Abuja has thrown out the application of the federal government to mask its witnesses.

Justice John Tsoho held that masking the witnesses would hide their attitude and countenance from the court.‎

“There is no gain saying that demeanour of witnesses is very crucial in a trial,” he said. Adding that there is no sufficient evidence that shows that the witnesses are being threatened.

He said the Department of State Services (DSS) has already revealed the names of its witnesses and addresses, noting that they reside in Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt, which is not in Kanu's locality.

“It is not correct therefore to assert that many of the witnesses come from the accused persons location,” he said.

Before adjourning the case, he ruled that names and addresses of the witnesses would not be made public during the trial. He fixed March 7 and 11‎ for the continuation of the trial.

READ: Court denies Kanu's request for seized British, Nigerian passports

In the application, the DSS had said the witnesses may refuse to testify against kanu if there identities are not protected, stressing that it is not seeking a secret trial.

But Kanu's lawyer, Chuks Muoma (SAN), opposed the move, describing the witnesses as masquerades. He argued that what the prosecution is asking for is a secret trial, urging the court to draw a distinction between a closed trial and protection of witnesses.

 

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