Law News
Army bars journalists from covering mutiny trial
A cross section of Nigerian soldiers charged for mutiny and other offences during a court martial at the Abacha Barracks, in Abuja…on Wednesday

A cross section of Nigerian soldiers charged for mutiny and other offences during a court martial at the Abacha Barracks, in Abuja…on Wednesday

The Army authorities on Thursday barred journalists from covering the ongoing trial of 59 soldiers for mutiny by the General Court Martial, led by Brig. Gen. Musa Yusuf.

Proceedings of the court had already commenced with the prosecution presenting its second witness for cross-examination when journalists were excused out of the trial venue by the Public Relations Officer in charge of the Nigerian Army Headquarters Garrison, Abuja, Col. Aliyu Yusuf.

Yusuf, who met with journalists outside the venue midway into the second day’s proceedings, said that the information released during the trial process was inimical to national security.

The Garrison spokesman, who appealed for understanding on the decision to get the media out of the ongoing trial, said that sensitive information was being released on the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in the North-East.

He said, “Let me make an appeal that we have covered the charges for this trial yesterday (Wednesday). There is nothing new that they would be charged for; if there is another trial, we will definitely send for you.

“As it is, the issues being discussed by the witnesses involve an ongoing operation. This is not healthy; it is harmful to national security…”

Yusuf called out the media for the meeting midway into the cross examination of the Second-in-Command of the 111 Special Forces Battalion, Capt. Isah Saleh.

Fifty-nine soldiers in the battalion were arraigned for criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny on Wednesday.

Saleh, who was led in evidence by a prosecution lawyer, Capt. Roseline Agwai, gave a detailed accounts of the event of the August 3, 2014 and August 4, 2014, at Muleh Secondary Primary School, Maiduguri, the location of the crime.

The Capt. was trying to corroborate the claim made by the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lt. Col. Opurum, on Wednesday that the soldiers refused to obey a directive to advance to an operation in Delwa, which was countered by Falana, who said that the soldiers asked for arms and were not given.

The President of the court, Brig. Gen. Musa Yusuf, had said on Oct. 2, 2014, the day of the inauguration of the GCM, that the court was open to the media in terms of coverage.

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