Nigeria: Court dismisses submission by Okah, othersJuly 30, 2011
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed an application filed by Charles Okah and three others accused of the Independence Day bombing in Abuja calling for the charges against them to be dropped.
Obi Nwabueze and Tiemkema Osvwo had joined the principal accused, Okah to pray the court to quash charges against them over car bombings which killed 12 people on October 1, 2010.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after listening to the prosecution and defense counsels, rejected the submission and went ahead to fix October 2011 for the commencement of the hearing.
Justice Kolawole further dismissed another application filed by the fourth accused person, Edmond Ebiware charged for terrorism.
The accused persons are standing trial on allegations of treasonable felony and terrorist Act punishable by death and life imprisonment, respectively.
The suspected bombers had applied to the court to quash the charge of treasonable felony slammed on them by the State Security Service, SSS, wherein they were accused of attempting to topple the Federal Government.
They had argued that the Federal Government filed two different charges against them which arose out of the same incident, facts and circumstances and that this makes the charges against them an abuse of court process.
They also contended that there was nothing in the proof of evidence attached to the charges linking them to the alleged crimes.
Prosecutor, Chief Alex Izinyon, said Ebiware was charged because he had privy information of the bombing but failed to inform the authorities.
Festus Keyamo, counsel to the accused said the ruling would be challenged in the Court of Appeal. “It is an abuse of the process of court and an attempt to harass and annoy the accused persons, which is of course an abuse of the process of court, and so we stand our ground and we are going to pursue it to the highest level,” said Keyamo.
But the Court said a “prima faci’’ was established against the accused and adjourned the trial of the two cases to commence between October 10 and November 28, 2011.
Those on trial are members of a group known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Charles Okah's brother, Henry Okah, who is alleged to be the leader of the group, is currently facing a separate trial in South Africa.
The October 1 blasts came an hour after MEND issued an email warning saying it had planted several bombs and telling people to evacuate the area.
MEND, which has been fighting for years for a greater share of oil revenues from the impoverished Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, later claimed responsibility for the bombings.
By Martin Martins WADR Abuja CorrespondentTweet