Loopholes On How Court Intend To Determine Nnamdi Kanu’s Case
The major problem in Nigeria today is that the country men and women are very good in gang up conspiracy.
It takes a high level of professionalism for any person either as a judge or non a judge to be able to pass a sagacious judgement without being a victim or being intimidated with a conspired witnesses and a gang up falsehood.
This is why the standard of the Nigeria Constitution permit only fair trial.
Fair trial means giving freedom for the accused to fully express his or herself. Giving the accused the opportunity to be heard and the entire court proceedings fully free to be monitored by all parties directly or non directly involved in the matter like the Press.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Of Nigeria, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho on Thursday, in the exercise of his constitutional powers as enshrined in section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and all other powers enabling him, made Practice Directions which permit the trial of the detained Biafra secessionist leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to be heard in secret and journalists bared from the proceedings henceforth.
In as much as we understand that under the interest of National security, the court may conduct secret trial on terrorism related cases in order not to expose the country to more danger or reveal the security loopholes of the country to outside countries, but, we believe, with the kind of terrorism charges preferred against Nnamdi Kanu by Federal Government and the larger people Nnamdi Kanu represent, secret trial is nothing but a call for possible break down of law and order if the court judgement did not favour the supporters and believers of the Biafra Republic which Nnamdi Kanu is agitating for.
Federal Government may see Nnamdi Kanu offences as a crime or an act of terrorism, but, in the opinion of the larger society which Nnamdi Kanu represent, whatever he does is freedom fighting.
To our best of knowledge, a government who believes in the peace and harmony of the country needs to be very open in dealing with such issue.
Let the court proceedings be very open for all to be convinced what may be the likely Judgement of the court against or in favour of Nnamdi Kanu.
Secret trial will give room for falsehood to be presented as the only optional fact by the press and the Biafra activists may take advantage of it to heat up the insecurity already witnessed in the Southeastern states of the country.
Suspicious as the Practice Directions maybe:
•The names, addresses, telephone numbers and identities of the victims of such offences or witnesses in the proceedings shall not be disclosed in any record or report of the proceedings and it shall be sufficient to designate the names of the victims or witnesses with a combination of alphabets.
•Proceedings of offences of terrorism, subject to the provisions of section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and section 34 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended), shall be held in camera or as may be ordered by the Court.
In any proceedings where the Court deems it necessary to ensure the safety and/or protect the identity of the victim or a witness, it may take any or all of the following protective measures:
°Hold its proceedings at any place to be designated by the Chief Judge and in the case of the Abuja Judicial Division, the venue for the time being, shall be the premises of the Code of Conduct Tribunal;
°Receive evidence by video link;
°Permit the witness to be screened or masked;
°Receive written depositions of expert witnesses;°
*Direct that all or any part of the proceedings of the Court shall not be published in any manner;
*Exclude from the proceedings any person other than the parties and their legal representatives;
*The coverage of proceedings under these Practice Directions is strictly prohibited, save as may be directed by the Court.
*A person who contravenes an order or direction made under these Practice Directions shall be deemed to have committed an offence contrary to section 34(5) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended).
*These Practice Directions shall be cited as the Federal High Court Practice Directions (On Trial of Terrorism Cases) 2022.
*A statement by the Chief Information Officer of the Court, Mrs Catherine Christopher on Thursday in Abuja said that the Practice Directions take shall take immediate effect.
We believe issues concerning Nnamdi Kanu is an issue of larger interest in the world. A secret trial will only block access to the right information but cannot stop information from flying. If the right information fails to fly, the wrong or false information may spread faster and even more wider.