•I made my statement under compulsion, torture – Onwudiwe tells court
•We didn’t compel him to make the statements – Witness
•You’re a congenital liar – Lawyer to witness.
Trial of the co-defendants to leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, Tuesday, commenced in full swing with the Federal government’s witness giving testimony against the defendants at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Nigeria.
The prosecution witness, simply identified as Mr CD, who admitted working at the Investigation Department of the State Security Services, DSS, since 2006, gave his testimony behind a barricade, where only the judge, Justice Binta Nyako, the defendants and the counsels could see him as he was shielded from the public.
Leading Mr CD in evidence, the lead prosecution, Shuaibu Labaran, asked the former to introduce himself as well as the roles he played while extracting statements from the 2nd defendant (Chidiebere Onwudiwe).
In response, the witness identified knowing the 2nd defendant(Onwudiwe) and the 3rd defendant(Benjamin Madubugwu), adding that he was assigned to extract statement from Onwudiwe while working at the Investigation Department which according to him, was gotten from the defendant on five separate occasions, beginning from 11th, 13th, 15th, 20th and 26th of July, 2016.
The witness further stated that Onwudiwe was taken to his office where he made statements in writing which according to him, was stored in a case file and taken to a superior officer to affirm the statements were actually from the defendant.
He said, “I took him to my office which I share with other investigators; I offered him a chair, I administered two questions and then he conceded giving his statement(s) by himself.
“He wrote down his statement. I put his statement in a case file, then took it to a superior officer to affirm if he wrote the statement himself. Thereafter, I returned the case file to my team leader.
“He made several statements; about five statements, respectively, on July 11, 13, 15, 20, and 26, 2016. The statements are in a case file. They were written in a DSS statement format, in a server document.
“The condition of his office was properly illuminated and has an air conditioner, with TV set, tables, chairs and the rest when the statement was made and I wasn’t bearing arms.”
Raising an objection, the defense counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor told the court that his client was under compulsion and torture by the DSS personnel who were extracting statements from him.
According to Ejiofor, the security agents used gun and other weapons to compel his client to issue those statements at the DSS office.
However, during cross-examination, Ejiofor, pointed out to the witness, some sections of the statement document that was allegedly mutilated without the signature of the defendant.
But in response, the witness stated it was common practice in their office for defendants to append their signatures at the end of every page of the statement document.
A mild drama ensued when the defence counsel asked the prosecution witness if he was part of the investigation team that investigated the defendant and how many people were part of the team and he answered that he was part of the team but not part of those that investigated the matter and also did not know how many of them were in the team.
Mr CD added that his only assignment was to collect statements from the defendant.
But another member of the defence team, Maxwell Okpara, who described the prosecution witness as a congenital liar, asked him who tortured Onwudiwe to the extent of sustaining degrees of injuries as contained in his Doctor’s medical report when he was transferred to Kuje prison.
kpara further asked him to tell the court the DSS personnel that denied Onwudiwe access to his lawyers on the grounds that lawyers are only accessible when the client is in police custody.
But in his response, the witness claimed to be surprised and unaware of the event statements from the defence lawyer.
Justice Nyako adjourned the matter until March 27 for continuation of trial.
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