Despite the February 2015 ruling of the Federal High Court against the protection (masking) of witnesses in the trial of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, the Federal Government has again applied for the protection of witnesses scheduled to testify against the defendant.
Dasuki is facing criminal charges of unlawful possession of firearm, arms and money laundering.
The fresh application submitted to the High Court by the Federal Government through Oladipo Opeseyi (SAN), on Wednesday, requested for the protection of identities of witnesses and that records of the proceedings should not made available to the public.
The Federal Government also sought for the court to grant the witnesses allowance to be addressed with fake names through the course of Dasuki’s trial.
The motion submitted to the court was based on 10 premises – one of which is “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.”
Furthermore, the government claimed that most of the witnesses are security personnel and have expressed fears of being identified by members of the public who are sympathetic towards Dasuki while also claiming that the defendant while in office as NSA, imported a huge cache of sophisticated weapons for national security reasons which has not yet been accounted for.
These weapons, the government claimed is in possession of people who are sympathetic towards Dasuki and would constitute a threat to the security of the witnesses if they are made to testify publicly.
The motion therefore prayed the court to hold that special circumstances have been constituted to warrant the grant of the request.
However, counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daodu SAN, told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that he has just been served with the motion and that he needed time to respond.
Justice Ademola subsequently adjourned hearing of the motion till June 23, 2016.