High Court Judge Expels Journalists from Covering Court Proceedings.

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Justice Emeka Nwite
Federal High Court, Abuja

The order followed the application of Mr. Sunday Joseph, counsel to and a director of the Legal and Prosecution Department at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who, applying for protection of a witness listed to give evidence, requested that lawyers, litigants, and visitors, including journalists, who were non-parties in the suit should not be allowed to be in the courtroom while the hearing lasted.

Justice Nwite acceded to the request and stood down the matter to allow non-parties in the suit leave the court room.

When the newsmen asked Mr. Joseph his reason for the application, he said it was to give protection to the witnesses, who are intelligent officers, in the matter. On the opinions of other lawyers in court, Joseph said “there is a doctrine of state privilege in the interest of national security.”

He claimed that members of the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) who were loyal to Mr. Kyari, were still coming to court, adding: “And you don’t know who is who; so, it is for the witness’ protection.”

Joseph said though the agency had been calling witnesses, he claimed the present witnesses cannot be exposed to the public.