A fresh application filed by the Federal government seeking to modify the trial of the alleged mastermind of Nyanya bombing, Aminu Ogwuche and seven others to completely shielding prosecution witnesses on Wednesday stalled the trial of the accused persons.
The accused: Ogwuche, Ahmed Abubakar, Mohammed Ishaq, Ya’u Saidu (alias Kofar Rama); Anas Isa, Adamu Yusuf and Nasir Abubakar are standing trial over alleged terrorism.
They are accused of conspiring, among others, to carry out the bomb blast at a bus station in Nyanya,a suburb of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital in April, 2014, killing at least 75 people.
At Wednesday’s resumed trial, a prosecution counsel, Mr A. Ogunsina, informed the court that he had filed a motion on April 9, seeking to modify the order of the court made on March 18, 2015 for a partial secret trial of the accused.
Ogunsina urged the court to re-order for the use of screens to shield the prosecution witnesses in order to protect them from public view.
The prosecution’s application also seeks to allow only the lead counsel to the accused person access to view the facial identities of the prosecution witnesses.
It also prays the court to permit the prosecution witnesses protected access to the court room through a non-public route.
The prosecution argued that failure to grant their application would affect the willingness of witnesses to sacrifice and give evidence for fear of their lives.
Responding, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to the accused, said they had just been served with a copy of the application in court and so it was not ripe for hearing.
He argued that prosecution counsel deliberately served them the motion in court in order to abort proceedings.
Raji further submitted that the said application was filed in bad faith, considering that it was filed since April 9 but served on the defence counsel on the date of trial.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a short ruling, adjourned the case until May 11, 2015 to enable the court to hear the prosecution counsel’s application for modification of the trial process.