A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected the invitation by the Federal Government to try in secret, a lecturer at the Kogi State University, Dr Mohammed Yunus and two others charged with sponsoring the proscribed Boko Haram sects.
Trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in his ruling, held that the court was mindful of the accused persons’ right to fair hearing and the need to protect the identities of witnesses from the general public as was the practice in advanced countries where the trial were on terrorism.
Following his ruling, a prosecution witness in the case refused to testify. Witnesses had in the past testified anonymously, with their faces covered with masks.
The judge however ruled: “To balance the conflicting interests of fair trial as prescribed by the constitution and not to unjustly expose ordinary citizens to danger; who have decided to give evidence on behalf of the state; if the court fails to give minimum comfort to witnesses, it will get to a stage where the state will no longer find witnesses”.
The suspect, Yunus, was arrested in October 2013, after he was alleged to be the spiritual leader and coordinator of the Boko Haram sect in Kogi State.