The Federal Capital Territory High Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Friday barred journalists from covering the late gospel singer Osinachi children’s testimony.
The move was as a result of the court granting the three oral applications made by Aderonke Imana, the prosecution counsel, on June 22.
The counsel filed the applications during the court hearing in the alleged culpable homicide case against Peter Nwachukwu, the late singer’s husband.
The three oral applications made by the prosecution counsel included sections 156 and 158 of the Child Rights Act, that persons other than the parties in the matter, the court officials, correctional staff and the witness’ guardians should not be allowed in the court when giving their testimonies.
The second application the counsel sought was premised on section 160 of the Child Rights Act and section 209 of the Evidence Act, urging the court to allow the children, being minors, to give unsworn evidence as Pw3 and Pw4.
The final application was hinged on section 1, 2 (1) and 157 of the Child Rights Act, urging the court to allow the witnesses to be brought to the court blindfolded and for their faces to be shielded.
The judge, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, granted the three prayers after which the defendant’s counsel I.A. Aliyu did not object to the applications.
Ms Nwosu-Iheme held that the applications were in the best interest of the children.
The court had on June 3 ordered that the defendant be remanded in Kuje prison after he pleaded not guilty to the homicide charge filed against him by the attorney general of the federation.
He is standing trial on 23 counts bordering on domestic violence and homicide. The defendant is accused of being responsible for the death of the late gospel singer popularly known for her song ‘Ekwueme’.
Mr Nwachukwu was arrested by the police after his wife died on April 8 following widespread allegations by their children, family and colleagues that he battered her.
The deceased’s mother and two sisters had on June 21 and 22 given their testimonies in chief (Pw1 and Pw2) respectively.