Posted by News Express | 8 June 2016 | 2,781 times
The Federal Government has again applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for protection of witnesses billed to testify against the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, in the criminal charges of unlawful possession of firearm and money laundering.
In a fresh motion on notice brought to the court on Wednesday, the government prayed the court for an order to shield the identities of the witnesses and that the record of proceedings not to be made accessible to the public.
In the motion filed by Federal Government lawyer, Mr. Oladipo Opeseyi (SAN), the applicant also applied for an order to permit the witnesses to be addressed with pseudo names in the cause of the trial of the ex-NSA.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had in February dismissed similar motion on protection of witnesses brought to the court by the Federal Government on the ground that the motion was baseless and unwarranted.
The judge said that the same government cannot ask for protection of witnesses having filed the charges and proof of evidence along with the names of the witnesses and put the same at the public domain for public consumption.
Justice Ademola further said that the purpose of seeking for protection in the earlier motion had already been defeated by government, having published the names of the witnesses and circulated same to different parties.
The fresh motion is premised on ten grounds, among which is that “Dasuki as a former NSA, a retired senior military officer and a crown prince of Sokoto Caliphate commands large followership throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria who may be aggrieved by his trial.”
Government also claimed that most of the witnesses are security personnel and have expressed fears of being identified by members of the public who are sympathetic to Dasuki.
The applicant equally claimed in the motion that Dasuki while in office as NSA allegedly imported into the country a large cache of highly sophisticated arms and ammunition for the national security purposes that have not been accounted for.
Besides, government alleged that huge ammunition is feared to be in the possession of persons who are sympathetic to the defendant.
It claimed that the security of its witnesses would be blown up if they are made to testify publicly without any protection.
In a five-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Emmanuel Ikpebe in support of the motion, government averred that Dasuki served in the intelligence unit of the army and that a large quantity of ammunition was found in his house when searched, in addition to various foreign currencies that the defendant could not explain the source.
The motion therefore prayed the court to hold that special circumstances have been constituted to warrant the granting of the request.
However, counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daodu SAN, told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that he had just been served with the motion that he needed time to respond. Justice Ademola subsequently adjourned hearing of the motion till June 23, 2016. (PRNigeria)
•Photo shows Sambo Dasuki.
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