A federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday granted the request of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to protect the identity of a witness in a suit against suspended deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari.
At the court session, NDLEA counsel, 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.
Presiding judge, Emeka Nwite, granted the application and stood down the matter to allow non-parties in the suit exit the court.
When the court reconvened, a lawyer in another suit, Emmanuel Oluwabiyi, expressed dissatisfaction over the NDLEA’s application.
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.
Addressing journalists after the court session, the NDLEA lawyer said the application was to give protection to witnesses who are intelligence officers.
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 police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who were loyal to Kyari, were still coming to court.
“And you don’t know who is who. So, it is for the witness’ protection,” he said.
“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.