Boko Haram: Court to decide FG’s application for witness protection

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja will, decide whether or not to grant the Federal Government’s application seeking protection of witnesses in the on-going trial of the seven suspected Boko Haram leaders, who were allegedly involved in the kidnap and murder of eleven foreign nationals between 2011 and 2013.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Shuaibu Labaran, in the application, prayed that the identity of prosecution witnesses should not be disclosed and that the prosecution witnesses should be protected with pseudo names in the course of the trial.

In his objection, counsel to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th defendants, Samuel Attah told the court that part of the grounds for the prosecution’s application were offensive to the provision of the Evidence Act., adding that some of the paragraphs were incompetent and thus should be struck out.

According to him, an operative of the Department of State Services (DSS) who deposed to the affidavit in support of the prosecution”s motion said he got information from Shaibu Labaran, an external fact, which he said was not acceptable as the person who sworn to the affidavit did not carry out the investigation.

Counsel to the 3rd defendant, Elijsha Oloruntoba, in his submission, said “It is our humble submission that some of the grounds of the application are incompetent, especially ground one, which is against the Evidence Act, which he said should be struck out.”.

In his own submission, K. Abdulkarim, representing the 6th defendant was not opposed to trying the defendants in secret but was against some of the grounds and begged the court to expunge the paragraph in the affidavit that offends provisions of the Evidence Act.

“Section 150 of the Evidence Act of 2011 and Section 36 of the Constitution as amended said affidavit shall not contain extraneous facts

However, Labaran told the court that since the defendants’ counsel did not object to all the paragraphs of the application, there were still grounds for the application to succeed and urged the court to grant the applicant.