An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has refused an application by counsel to former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, for presentation of his evidence in secret.
Mr. Dasuki is facing trial for alleged possession of firearms and fraud.
Following an application by the prosecution, the court in June, 2017 allowed the protection of witnesses behind protective screens.
Based on that decision of the court, the defense counsel, Adeola Adedipe, objected to the presentation of evidence given by the protected witnesses in open court.
According to Mr. Adedipe, since the court has allowed the protection of prosecution witnesses, their evidence should also be protected from public view.
Counsel to the prosecution, Oladipo Opeseyi, however, asked the court to dismiss the objection as lacking in merit.
Mr. Opeseyi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, argued that Mr. Adedipe’s request should not have come in form of an objection.
He said the request is such that requires the exercise of the court’s discretion and should have followed a formal application.
“The objection has no foundation in law. It should be discountenanced. Whoever seeks the discretionary powers of the court to do a thing must apply for it,” Mr. Opeseyi said.
The court in its ruling disagreed with the submission of the defence that its decision for the protection of witnesses had rendered the trial secret.
Mr. Mohammed said although the court allowed the witnesses to be shielded from the public, the defence is not prevented from seeing the witness.
He also ruled that since the matter before the defence is treated in open court, the evidence should also be presented in open court.
“The objection has no merit. It is hereby dismissed,” Mr. Mohammed ruled.
The case was adjourned till May, 22 and 24 for continuation of trial.
Some of the firearms reportedly recovered from Mr Dasuki’s residence by security operatives include high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears
Mr. Dasuki, is facing multiple trials for his alleged abuse of office while he was NSA.
He is also alleged to have used his office to perpetrate the diversion of $2.1 billion.
He has remained in the custody of Nigeria’s security operatives, despite various orders for his bail.
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