Yesterday, the Nigerian Army barred journalists from covering of the proceedings of its General Court Martial.
This decision resulted from fears that publication of operational details of the ongoing war on terrorism would expose the troops to harm from the terrorist sect, Boko Haram .
According to reports, the military court commenced sitting on Wednesday, at the Army Headquarters AHQ Garrison, in Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja where 97 soldiers are to be arraigned for various offences of mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny amongst others.
Earlier during the inaugural sitting the arraignment of 59 soldiers on two counts charge of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny, where they all pleaded not guilty received massive coverage by the media.
However, yesterday journalists who appeared in court for the continuation of the trial, were sent out of the court midway into the proceedings.
Information say that at about 10.00 am when the second prosecution witness (pw2) in the case, who is second in command to the Commanding Officer, 111 Special Forces Battalion, Lt-Col Timothy Opulum, PW1, commenced giving evidence, a plain clothed officer went round the court whispering to journalists that an “officer outside wants to see you.”
Although Spokesman of the Garrison, Colonel Aliyu Yusuf addressed journalists outside the courtroom saying that the Army would send invitations across to them whenever the time was right.
Colonel Yusuf stated that the need to promote national security, had informed the action, thereby he appealed for understanding.
It should be noted that during the court proceedings on Wednesday, serious issues of national security bordering on military operations were raised and considered in the open court, which was said to be putting ongoing operations in the North East at risk.
At a point, during the proceeding, the GCM President, who became apparently uncomfortable with the revelations of military strategies, had to stop the witness and the counsel from delving into military operations that might endanger national security.
It will be recalled that the last court martial in the AHQ Garrison carried out a discreet trial of 18 soldiers accused of mutiny.
Newsmen were only invited on the day judgment was to be delivered where death sentence was passed on 12 of them by the GCM on September 15th.