Lawyers, journalists, others barred from Tukur Mamu’s trial

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On Friday, the trial of Tukur Mamu at the Federal High Court in Abuja continued, but the atmosphere in Courtroom 7 was tense as lawyers, litigants, and journalists were ordered to vacate the premises. The request to clear the courtroom came from E.A. Kaswe, counsel from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Federal Government. Kaswe urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to enforce the order that was granted on Wednesday, which called for all parties not involved in the suit to leave the courtroom during the trial.

The trial of Tukur Mamu has drawn significant attention due to the serious charges against him. He is being accused of terrorism financing, particularly in relation to the attack on a Kaduna-bound train that occurred last year. The former terrorists’ negotiator has pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against him.

The prosecution’s move to exclude individuals not directly involved in the case from the courtroom is aimed at protecting the identities of the witnesses. In an ex-parte motion filed by the Federal Government, they sought several orders to safeguard the witnesses’ safety and privacy. These include excluding everyone except parties and accredited press members from the courtroom, vacating the courtroom during witness testimonies, shielding the witnesses’ identities by using facial masks or screens, and referring to the witnesses by pseudo names throughout the proceedings.

Justice Inyang Ekwo granted these orders on Wednesday to ensure the safety of the witnesses and maintain the integrity of the trial. However, on Friday, the situation became complicated when the prosecution requested the enforcement of the exclusion order, leading to the eviction of lawyers, litigants, and journalists from the courtroom.

The trial of Tukur Mamu has been closely watched by the public and the media due to the severity of the charges and the implications it may have on national security. Mamu was arrested in September 2022 on his way to Saudi Arabia for Lesser Hajj and was later repatriated to Nigeria to face trial. The Federal Government has accused him of aiding and abetting Boko Haram terrorism attacks and collecting significant sums of money from families of the train attack.

The case against Mamu is part of the government’s efforts to combat terrorism and ensure that those involved in financing such attacks are brought to justice. The trial is ongoing, and all parties involved are taking measures to protect the safety and anonymity of the witnesses who play a crucial role in the proceedings.

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