Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho has released a new practice direction for the trial of terrorism cases before the court.
The terrorism case filed against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is currently before the Abuja High court.
The case of Bureau de change operators indicted over sponsorship of terrorism, and Boko Haram suspects are also before the court.
According to Justice Tsoho, the new practice direction is in the exercise of his constitutional powers as enshrined in Section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The new direction prohibits media coverage during proceedings.
The direction states, “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).
“only the judges; other essential court staff and security agencies involved in the particular case and their vehicles shall have access to the court premises.”
He said in any proceedings the court deems necessary to ensure the safety and or to protect the identity of the victim or witness, may hold its proceedings at any place to be designated by the chief judge with the Code of Conduct Tribunal as the venue for the time being.
“The names, addresses, telephone numbers and identity 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.”
The court listed other procedures to include evidence by video link; permit the witness to be screened or masked; receive written depositions of expert witnesses, and direct that all or any part of the proceedings of the court shall not be published in any manner.
Others are to exclude from the proceedings any person other than the parties and their legal representatives; make orders as to any electronic devices that would be allowed during proceedings, and make orders on any other measure that the court considers appropriate in the circumstances.
Kanu is expected to appear in court tomorrow (Friday) in continuation of his trial.