Alleged Cocaine Deal: Lawyers, journalists barred from trial to protect witnesses

Abba Kyari

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted the request of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to protect the identity of witnesses in a suit against the suspended deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari.

At the day’s proceedings, counsel to the NDLEA, Sunday Joseph, asked the judge to restrict lawyers, litigants, visitors and journalists, who are not parties in the suit, from accessing the court during the testimony of the witness.

The NDLEA lawyer said the application was to give protection to witnesses who are intelligence officers.

Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, granted the application and stood down the matter to allow non-parties in the suit to exit the court.

The judge, however, pleaded with lawyers who were not involved in Kyari’s matter to bear with the court, assuring them that their cases would be heard as soon as Kyari’s trial was over for the day.

When asked about his reaction to the opinions of other lawyers in court, Joseph said the application was made in the interest of national security.

He said it had been observed that members of the Inspector-General of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who were loyal to Kyari, were still coming to court and one cannot fathom who is who.

“We are now going into the nitty-gritty of the matter and there have been allegations that we are just witch-hunting them.”

Kyari is standing trial alongside four members of his team — Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu — on an eight-count charge of drug trafficking.

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