On Tuesday, lawyers and journalists were barred from an ongoing trial of disgraced police officer Abba Kyari.
Journalists covering the ongoing trial of disgraced police officer Abba Kyari were on Tuesday restrained from entering Court 10 of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for the proceeding.
Justice Emeka Nwite gave the order following an application by Sunday Joseph, counsel for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Mr Joseph, a director of NDLEA’s legal and prosecution department, had applied to protect the next witness listed to give evidence in the trial.
The lawyer prayed the court that other lawyers, litigants, and visitors, including journalists, who were in the court should not be allowed to be in the courtroom while the hearing lasted.
Mr Nwite then stood down the matter to allow non-parties in the suit against the suspended police officers to move out.
However, when the judge came in, a lawyer, Emmanuel Oluwabiyi, whose case was number 11 on the cause list, told Mr Nwite that he was in court for another matter.
“I am embarrassed by the application, my lord,” he said.
Mr Nwite then pleaded with lawyers not in Mr Kyari’s matter to bear with the court in the interim.
When journalists asked the NDLEA’s lawyer about the reason for the application, he said it was to protect the witnesses, who are intelligent officers, in the matter.
When asked about his reaction to the opinions of other lawyers in court, Mr Joseph said, “There is a doctrine of state privilege in the interest of national security.”
He said it had been observed that members of the inspector general police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) loyal to Mr Kyari were still coming to court.
“And you don’t know who is who, so it is for the witness’ protection,” he alleged.
Mr Joseph said though the agency had been calling witnesses, the present witnesses could not be exposed to the public.
The hearing is still ongoing as of the time of filing the report.
Mr Nwite had, on March 22, dismissed an application filed by Mr Kyari and others seeking an order dismissing the NDLEA’s charge against them.
Mr Kyari and three other co-defendants in the suit bordering on drug offences had filed the application.
The applicants are Kyari, ACP Sunday Ubia, Insp Simon Agirigba and Insp John Nuhu.