|Aminu Ogwuche (centre)|
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Court Orders Alleged Nyanya Bomb Blast Mastermind - Ogwuche, Co-accused To Be Tried In Camera
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that the alleged mastermind of the April 14 Nyanya bomb blast, Aminu Ogwuche and five orders be tried in camera.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who gave the order, also allowed the prosecution to use aliases for the defence witnesses.
At the resumed trial of Aminu Oguwche and five others accused of carrying out the April 14 Nyanya bomb blast which claimed over 76 lives, the Prosecution applied to hold the trial in camera to protect the witnesses in the case.
The prosecutors also wanted the court to allow the witnesses be masked to prevent a breach of their personal safety.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Musa Din, told the court that the nature of the case for which the accused persons are standing trial is sensitive and there was the need to ensure witnesses’ protection so as not to expose them to danger.
The defence lawyers did not oppose a camera trial, they however opposed the application for the witnesses to be masked.
This was on the grounds that it is alien to Nigerian laws and masking the witnesses would deny the defence the opportunity to properly examine the witnesses.
They argued that this also violates the rights of the accused persons to fair hearing.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, while granting three of the prayers which bothered on witnesses protection, however, rejected an application requesting that the witnesses be masked.
He said that there would be no threat to the witnesses because members of the public have been excluded from the trial. He advised the prosecution to take other measures to protect the identity of the witnesses during trial.
Justice Mohammed ordered that the accused persons, their lawyers and selected journalists screened by the court be allowed access for the trial.
Ogwuche was extradited from Sudan with the help of Interpol on July 15, 2014 to answer charges of terrorism leveled against him in relation to the twin bombing in Nyanya motor park in the outskirts of Abuja which claimed 76 lives on April 14, 2014.