Prosecutors of Yunusa Dahiru, the alleged abductor of Ese Oruru, requested that the judge holds a closed-door trial at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa on Monday in Bayelsa State.
Mr. Dahiru was charged with abduction, kidnapping, unlawful carnal knowledge and sexual exploitation on March 8, 2016.
Mr. Dahiru pleaded not guilty to the charges and his counsel applied for bail on March 8th prior to the adjournment.
Counsel for the prosecution, Kenneth Dika, made the application for the secret trial before Justice H. A. Nganjiwa and noted that the victim, Ms. Oruru, was a minor and deserved the protection of the courts.
Counsel to Mr. Dahiru, Kayode Olaoshebikan, opposed the application, but urged the court to rule on the pending bail application that he filed on March 8, 2016.
Mr. Dika opposed the bail application, arguing that the accused is likely to jump bail.
The judge adjourned the case to March 21, 2016 and ruled that the accused should be remanded in prison custody until March 14, 2016, when he will rule on the bail application.
Prison officials warned journalists to refrain from asking the suspect questions and taking photos of the suspect outside the court premises. They claimed to be acting on ‘orders from above’ and hurriedly whisked the suspect away from the media.
Reacting to the request for a secret trial, the lead defense counsel said that the prosecutors had created a scenario that exposed the victim in their handling of the whole matter.
“Ordinarily the law allows for a secret trial, but you must give the court reasons. Our own contention is that the matter is already in the public domain. The prosecution created a media nightmare for the girl on their own. They dug the pit, they should wallow in it,” Mr. Olaoshebikan said.
“Even if the court allows it, the media cannot be excluded from the trial, but our own contention is that what they are seeking to prevent has already been created by them from the onset before the trial.”