Abuja - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday fixed March 12 and March 19 for the commencement of the trial of Ali Ndume, charged with terrorism and alleged links with Boko Haram insurgents.
Ndume was arraigned for having links with Boko Haram insurgents and failing to inform law enforcement agencies about their activities.
On Thursday when Ndume’s trial was supposed to commence, the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, informed counsel that the matter would not go on because he had an urgent appointment.
Ricky Tarfa (SAN), who represents Ndume and Lawal Hassan, the prosecution counsel, therefore, obliged the judge and agreed to the two adjourned dates of March 12 and March 19 for the trial.
Kolawole had on October 24, 2014 refused to fully grant an application brought by the Federal Government seeking to conduct the trial of the accused in secret.
Also read: Court delays Ndume's trial
Ruling on the application, the judge held that the court was inclined to partially grant in that manner because the application was not strong enough to be fully granted.
Kolawole said the application was caught between the two issues of fair hearing/trial and state responsibility, thereby necessitating the court to embark on act of judicial balancing.
The court, therefore, held that while the accused was entitled to fair hearing and fair trial, the state owed the responsibility of protecting the lives of prosecution witnesses during the trial.
He declared that witnesses will be shielded under a special arrangement by the court but such witnesses will not be masked.
However, members of the press and parties in the suit would be allowed into the court but the public would not be allowed into the court room, the judge ordered.