Boko Haram: Court denies Nigerian govt full powers to try Ndume in secret

Senator Ali Ndume

An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday refused to grant in full an application brought by the Federal Government seeking to conduct the trial of Ali Ndume, a senator, in secret.

Mr. Ndume is standing trial on terrorism charges.

Ruling on the application, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said the court was inclined to partially grant the request because the application was not strong enough to be granted in full.

Mr. Kolawole held that while the accused was entitled to fair hearing and fair trial, the state had the responsibility of protecting the lives of prosecution witnesses during the trial.

He said that the application was caught between fair hearing/trial and state responsibility, thereby necessitating the court to strike a balance between the two.

“The application is not one that is sufficiently strong and in the light of this the court will grant the application in a limited manner.

“Witnesses will be shielded under a special arrangement by the court but such witnesses will also not be masked.

“This is, except for members of the press and parties in the suit, the public will not be allowed into the court room,’’ the trial judge ruled.

The Federal Government had, through its Counsel, Ernest Orji, sought a court order to conduct the trial in secret.

Mr. Orji had in a motion dated September 23 and argued on October 21 prayed the court to protect the identity of prosecution witnesses that were to give evidence in the matter.

However, counsel to the accused, Isa Amaza, in his submission, told the court that the request would violate his client’s right to fair hearing.

He urged the court to refuse the application of the prosecution and go ahead with the trial in public.

Mr. Ndume is standing trial for allegedly failing to inform law enforcement agencies of the activities of the Boko Haram sect.

Mr. Kolawole adjourned the case to November 11 and 12 to commence the trial.



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  • amazing2012

    Why did the government want to try him in secret ? Is the government afraid he will indict them ? Again is he standing trial ? How ? The senator is moving freely while the boy who indicated him had been imprison sentence to life since last year. What a justice ?

    • Joe

      The boy that alleged that Ndume was the one that assisted them with prominent Nigerians telephone numbers and SMS compositions was jailed for 2 years and not life imprisonment. He may be out before the trail and prosecution of Ndume is concluded.

    • Festoo

      Have you ever heard of witness protection ? Will you stand and witness against a terrorist in public? Dont you known not just his life but that of the family members are at risk

      • amazing2012

        Every witness open or close stand the risk of his life. For instance close witness and those who report crime in Nigeria become the first suspects or get expose by the same security authority. Witness can still be close while the trial is open, at least the Senator is known to be charge with the crime. Let it be open and witness have their identity close. Again, the witness are going to testify against or for the the senator. For Those against him even if their identity is close, he will still know them. Let it be open so the public will know who is what in BH, at least for transparacy !

  • Wähala

    Witness protection ko…
    This is the real gist. Sen. Ali Ndume is accused of writing SMS messages for Boko Haram illiterates (or bcos they believe Western Education is Haram) and keeping mum about his contacts with them. That is the nexus of his indictment. But the bigger picture is how he got the BH numbers. You see, VP Sambo met with senior Boko Haram terrorists in Saudi Arabia who gave him their contact details, he passed-on the numbers to Ndume and that is why this evil Administration wants to try him in secret… he has bags of beans to spill. Sen. Ndume will tell the court how he got BH numbers, with other dots like Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff introducing Dr. Jomogbomo Dumbo to President Idris Deby of Chad, given other info we have from late NSA Azazi ati Dr. Davis, the dots connect and point decisively to the PDP and Jomo Dumbo as bring behind the murderous mayhem of BH ragheads. In election year, that is not what Dumbo wants the public to hear and I commend Justice Kolawole for balancing his ruling with deference to heating up the polity…

    Per witness protection…
    I suggest the Egyptian approach of towing the accused and witnesses alike in cages like Mubarak…
    No terrorists dared springing Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood thugs responsible for crimes against humanity…
    No terrorists will dare blow-up Sen. Ndume and all the witnesses necessary to send him to jail for his acquiescence to murder. He is an “accessory to murder” and “tacit terrorist” getting paid by taxpayers to murder them… likewise Sambo! Kapisch?

    • Baba Messi

      @Wähala, please accept my condolences.

      Get well soon.

    • Garden-City Boy

      Those are awusa dots, sen through skewed awusa lens. They don’t work.

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  • PeterPaul1

    This is unbelievable! Thousands of Nigerians have died in the hands of these murderers called boko haram, and our govt. wants to try one of their members in private? Is Jonathan this insensitive or wicked? Boko haram members and financiers should be tried in open court and be made to face the ultimate penalty if found guilty.

    I have my suspicion that GEJ’s govt. have a connection to these terrorists and they are afraid Sen. Ndume’s trial would expose them. May God Almighty rain His anger on all boko haram members including their sponsors, in Jesus name.

  • Dapostle007