Abba Kyari’s drug trial : Court bars journalists, others, from hearing testimonies of under cover witnesses
Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday barred journalists , lawyers and public from ongoing trial of the suspended DCP Abba Kyari and four other police officers who are standing trial for alleged drug trafficking as under cover witnesses testified.
The court chased away public from the trial as under cover witnesses testified. This followed an application brought by Mr Sunday Joseph the prosecution counsel for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Joseph, a director of Legal and Prosecution Department of the NDLEA, had applied for the protection of the next witness listed to give evidence in the trial.
In his application,the counsel prayed the court not to allow lawyers not involved in the matter , litigants, visitors, including journalists in the courtroom while the hearing lasted.
The judge granted the request and then stood down the matter to allow non-parties in the anti-narcotic suit against the suspended police officers move out.
However, when the judge came in for the matter, a lawyer, Emmanuel Oluwabiyi, whose case was on number 11 on the cause list, told the judge that he was in the court for another matter.
Oluwabiyi said he observed that before the judge rose, counsel for the NDLEA made an application.
“I understand that it was directed that everybody in the courtroom should step out because of the instant matter. The bar is also meant to be vacated.
“The feedback I am getting is that when this matter is going to be made, no lawyer should be in
“I am embarrassed by the application my lord,” he said.
Justice Nwite then pleaded with lawyers who were not in the Kyari’s matter to bear with the court in the interim.
He said their matters too would be heard as soon as hearing was over.
“In the mean time sir, I want to know when to come back my lord,” Oluwabiyi asked.
“You can hang around. We are not going to take the matter through out the whole day. Please bear with, the court” the judge responded.
Another lawyer, Mr Ramiah Imhanaede, also aligned with Oluwabiyi’s submission but they complied with the court order.
When court rose after the secret testimony, NDLEA’s lawyer told journalists that he made 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” in the application.
He said it had been observed that members of the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) who were loyal to Mr Kyari, were still coming to 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 alleged.
Joseph said though the agency had been calling witnesses, the present witnesses cannot be exposed to the public. He said lawyers in the matter agreed on secret testimony because of security concern as they are “class of witnesses that needed to be protected, they are under cover witnesses.”
He said the witnesses testified he wanted to tender exhibits and then there was an objection . The Court adjourned the matter to June 9, that was what transpired, he said.
BVAS fails to transmit Presidential election results, INEC’s ad-hoc staff tells Court
The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed for February 25 general election failed to transmit the results of the Presidential election, two INEC’s ad-hoc staff told Presidential Election Petition Court.
Mr. Friday Egwuma and Grace Timothy the two ad-hoc staff who served as Presiding officers in polling units in Abia State and Plateau State told the court on Thursday that presidential election results were not transmitted from polling Units after the results were recorded, snapped, and entered,
Both of them testified under subpoena as Atiku witnesses. They further told the court that the BVAS machine allocated to them developed a system error immediately after the results of the Senate and House of Representatives held same time and venue were transmitted.
In their subpoena evidence, the two workers of the electoral body explained that they had to resort to other means of getting the results through when it became clear that the BVAS machines would not help them.
Egwuma was a Presiding Officer in a polling unit in Abia State while Grace Timothy served INEC in Plateau State.
Apart from the failure of the BVAS machines to transmit the presidential election results, the two witnesses admitted that voting went smoothly in their respective places of work.
They were led in evidence by Atiku’s lead counsel Chief Chris Uche, SAN. However
under cross-examination by Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN who stood for the electoral body, Egwuma explained that he resorted to the offline system in place of the BVAS machines.
In her own, Grace Timothy told the Court that the greatest challenge she experienced during the election was the uploading of the presidential election results into the I- rev portal.
The witnesses were also cross-examined by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN who stood for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who represented the All Progressives Congress APC.
Early yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Bola Tinubu, and APC had vehemently kicked against the bid by Atiku to have the INEC ad-hoc staff testify in the petition challenging the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu’s lead counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN objected to the tendering of statement on oath of the witnesses at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in aid of Atiku’s petition.
The respondent argued that the statements of the ad-hoc staff were not front-loaded at the time of filing their petition
He asked the Court to reject the witnesses and discountenance their statements on the grounds that they violated the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
Tinubu’s arguments against the subpoenaed witnesses were adopted by Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who stood for the APC and Abubakar Mahmoud SAN who appeared for INEC.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche SAN asked the Court to dismiss the objections on the grounds that they were utterly misplaced and misconceived.
Uche argued that the objections by Tinubu, APC, and INEC were deliberate ploy designed to delay proceedings.
The senior lawyer insisted that the statements of the subpoenaed witnesses could not have been front-loaded along with the petition because they have not been summoned at the time of filing the petition.
He asked the Court to discountenance the objections of the three respondents and hold that they are not regular or additional witnesses envisaged in the law cited by Olanipekun. The council said that it would be a denial of a fair hearing to bar a witness under subpoena from testifying when the respondents have the right to cross-examine the witness.
The presiding Justice Tsammani stood down the matter for a ruling but on resumption, Justice Tsammani announced that ruling in the objections had been reserved till the judgment date.
The court directed the petitioner’s lawyer to proceed with his subpoenaed witness testimony.
Meanwhile, further hearing in the petition has been shifted to June 9
Two Reasons I’m Supporting Akpabio to be Senate President – Ndume
Ali Ndume has revealed why he’s supporting Senator Godswill Akpabio to become the next Senate President. Ndume who represents Borno South, spoke during an interview on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, on Wednesday. Ndume said it is because Akpabio is the preferred candidate of President Bola Tinubu. Tinubu has also asked Ndume to lead Akpabio’s campaign and ensure he becomes the number three citizen.“There are so many that contributed to my reason to stand for Akpabio, because one the president had interest and had Akpabio as his preferred candidate and number two, he had the confidence of asking me to lead the campaign.“Most importantly, it is about justice, about equity, about the constitution and doing what is right and standing for what is justful for this country,” Ndume said. Even though the All Progressives Congress (APC) has chosen Akpabio to be senate president, the likes of Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara, and Orji Uzor Kalu, chief whip of the senate, have insisted on contesting the position.
Democracy Day: FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday
To commemorate Democracy Day, the Federal Government has declared Monday, June 12, 2023, a public holiday.In a statement issued Thursday in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated all Nigerians on the occasion.She said; “Nigeria’s democratic journey has, like in many other climes, encountered both stormy and smooth sails, but the ship of State, it’s institutions and most importantly, the Nigerian people have remained steadfast on the tenets of democratic governance.“On this memorable occasion therefore, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are invited to appreciate the progress that has been made, celebrate the milestones covered and look forward to a better future for the country’s democracy.“The Permanent Secretary wishes all Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day celebration”.
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