Independence Day Bombing: Court Sentences Charles Okah To Life Imprisonment

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File photo

 

Eight years after, A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sentenced Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze to life imprisonment for their role in the October 1st, 2010 bomb blast in Abuja.

The presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, gave his ruling in accordance with section 15 sub sections 1 and 2 of the EFCC act.

Both men were earlier today convicted at the Abuja High Court.

The defendants were earlier arraigned before the High Court in December 2010, and later re-arraigned in January 2011 on charges foretold in section 15 (1) and (2) of the EFCC Act, which states that when convicted upon, attracts life imprisonment.

In a 4-hour 30 minutes judgment, Justice Kolawole found the defendants guilty as charged for being responsible for March 15, 2010, bomb blast which claimed one life in Warri, Delta State and the October 1st, 2010 bomb blast near Eagle Square in Abuja which claimed several lives.

The judge noted that the second defendant, Obi Nwabueze, particularly made himself available to run illegal errands for Henry Okah who provided N1.2m used to purchase five fairly used cars deployed for the Warri blast while Charles Okah, provided the sum of N2m used for the purchase of the four cars deployed for the Independence Day blast in Abuja.

However, the court had earlier sentenced a third defendant, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment on July 27, 2017, for his role also in the Abuja bomb blast

Independence Day Bombing: Court Convicts Charles Okah

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze for their role in the October 1st, 2010 bomb blast in Abuja.

In a 4 hour, 30 minutes judgment, Justice Kolawole, found the defendants guilty as charged for being responsible for March 15, 2010, bomb blast which claimed one life in Warri, Delta State and the October 1st, 2010 bomb blast near Eagle Square in Abuja which claimed several lives.

The judge noted that the second defendant, Obi Nwabueze, particularly made himself available to run illegal errands for Henry Okah who provided N1.2m used to purchase five fairly used cars deployed for the Warri blast while Charles Okah, provided the sum of N2m used for the purchase of the four cars deployed for the Independence Day blast in Abuja.

However, the court had earlier sentenced a third defendant, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment on July 27, 2017, for his role also in the Abuja bomb blast.

 

Court To Rule On Charles Okah May 16

A Federal High Court sitting in in Abuja has fixed May 16 to rule on the application for no-case-submission filed by Charles Okah and Nwabueze Obi, to dispel terrorism charges brought against them.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date to rule on the motion after counsel to all the parties had canvassed their arguments.

Mr Okah, a younger brother of Henry Okah, the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation Niger Delta, (MEND) and others standing the trial are expected to open their defence.

The applicants were alleged to be the masterminds of the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja that killed at least 12 people and wounded over 17 others.

FG Sacks 23 Prison Officers Over Jailbreaks

Nigeria Prisons Service, Prison, JailbreaksTwenty-three officers of the Nigeria Prisons Service have been relieved of their jobs for their alleged role in the jailbreaks that occurred recently at Kuje Medium Security Prison in the Federal Capital Territory and Koton-Karfe Prison in Kogi State.

This decision was approved at an emergency meeting of the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board in Abuja on August 11.

A statement from the Nigeria Prisons Service indicates that 17 junior staff of the Kuje and Konton-Karfe prisons have also been sacked in connection with the jailbreaks.

In addition, the officer in charge of the Nsukka Prison in Enugu State, Mr Lawrence Okonkwo and 10 other staff of the facility have been suspended, to allow for an investigation of the escape of 15 inmates from the prison last week, though six of them were said to have been re-arrested.

The sack comes on the heels of the three jailbreaks that occurred between June and August in Kuje, Koton-Karfe and Nsukka prison facilities, all in Nigeria.

Two inmates escaped from the Kuje prison while 13 others fled the Koton-Karfe prison.

The Nsukka jailbreak was the recent where 15 prisoners escaped, just as six escapees were rearrested.

Jail Break: Danbazzau Visits Kuje Prison

Danbazzau, Kuje Prison, Jail breakThe Nigeria Prisons Service will carry out an appraisal of the security arrangements at all the nation’s prisons.

The Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazzau (Rtd) revealed this when he visited the Kuje Prison in Abuja.

Two inmates escaped from the Kuje Prison during a jail break at the weekend.

General Dambazau explained that the new arrangement will ensure that there is no re-occurrence of weekend’s jail break.

Prisons Official Debunks Rumours Of Charles Okah’s Escape

charles okahAn official of the Nigerian Prisons Service on Saturday debunked reports that one of the prime inmates in Kuje Prison, Mr Charles Okah, has escape.

The spokesman for the prisons service, Enobore Francis, told Channels Television that Mr Okah was intact in his cell.

He, however, confirmed reports of Kuje Prison brake, saying that two inmates awaiting trial for culpable homicide were at large.

“Actually, yesterday, we had an incident where two inmates awaiting trial escaped from custody.

“Charles Okah is still in safe custody in Kuje Medium Security Prison.

“There is no truth about news making the rounds that Charles Okah escaped from lawful custody. It is not true.

“At least the Comptroller General himself came when the news was trending to assess the situation,” he stressed.

Although reporters were not allowed into the prison with the Comptroller General of Prisons, who carried out an assessment, the prisons spokesperson said the two inmates escaped from their cells at about 7:30 p.m. local time on Friday, June 24.

He said that the Comptroller General had directed that a detailed account of what transpired should be transferred to his office.

“He has promised that any staff found wanting would be made to face the full wrath of the law,” he added.

Okah’s Trial: Court Admits Car Dealer’s Statement As Exhibit

okah The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has admitted as exhibit, the statement of Fatai Adeyinka, who sold a Mazda car used by the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010, Charles Okah in the Abuja bombing that killed 12 people.

Adeyinka’s statement was admitted by the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole on Tuesday, despite objections raised by the defence counsel.

The exhibit was tendered through the third federal government witness, Chukwuma Igwe, a staff of the Department of State Security Service, who also informed the court that he took Adeyinka’s statement.

Igwe told the court that he was instructed by his boss, Abdul Abubakar, to take the statement when Adeyinka, an illiterate, told them that he can not read and write in English language.

But the defence counsels in their objection, said that Adeyinka’s statement was not admissible through the witness, because they cannot cross examine him on the content of the statement.

In his ruling, Justice Kolawole ruled that the objections raised by the defence had failed to take cognizance of the background and the fact that Mr Igwe was not the maker of the statement, but that he recorded it.

He further ruled that the defence is free to cross examine the witness on the procedure adopted by him to take the witness.

Further hearing has been adjourned till November 4 .

Prisons Deny Rumoured Death of Charles Okah

okahThe Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) had denied the rumoured death of the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Charles Okah.

This is contained in a press release by the Prisons Public Relations Officer, DCP Enobore Francis, on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.

The statement read, “This is to officially respond to numerous media enquiries over the rumoured death of Mr. Charles Okah in prison custody.

“We wish to categorically state and clarify that Mr. Charles Okah is not dead but alive, hale and hearty under the safe custody of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS).

“The rumour has no iota of truth and therefore should be discountenanced.”

There were reports of a mild drama at the Federal High Court in Abuja as Mr Charles Okah threatened to end his trial when he attempted to take his life.

Okah, who is standing trial for terrorism, reportedly sought the permission of the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to air his views over what he termed “endless trial”, due to his lawyer’s absence in court.

Charles Okah, who expressed frustration about the endless trial, ended his emotional statement after about five minutes, reached for a chair in the court and quickly moved towards a window but was overpowered by lawyers and other litigants who prevented him from breaking the louvers.

Independence Day Bombing: Okah Attempts Suicide In Court

okahThere was a mild drama at the Federal High Court in Abuja as the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Charles Okah, threatened to end his trial when he attempted to take his life.

Okah, who is standing trial for terrorism, sought the permission of the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to air his views over what he termed “endless trial”, due to his lawyer’s absence in court.

Justice Kolawole obliged his request, and Okah said that he had been incarcerated for about five years now and he had a family to cater for.

He further said that his children would grow up without feeling the warmth of their father.

Charles Okah, who expressed frustration about the endless trial, ended his emotional statement after about five minutes, reached for a chair in the court and quickly moved towards a window.

He was, however, overpowered by lawyers and other litigants who prevented him from breaking the louvers.

Justice Kolawole consequently adjourned the suit till October 20, 2015 for continuation of trial.

Okah’s Trial: Court Orders Prosecution To Furnish Defence With Brief

charles_okahThe Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to furnish Mr Charles Okah, Obi Nwabueze and their counsels all the necessary documents they intend to tender during their trial for the 2010 Independence Day bombing.

The order issued on Monday would allow the defence study the documents and decide which they would object to or otherwise.

According to the trial judge, Justice Kolawole, the order was in line with the new practice direction aimed at fast-tracking trials.

The case has been adjourned to 19 May for continuation of trial.

Mr Charles Okah and his co-accused, Obi Nwabueze are accused of complicity in the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja which killed at least 10 persons and injured 10 others.

October 2010 Bombing: Trial Of Charles Okah Begins

charles_okahThe trial of Charles Okah, brother of the jailed leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and his co-accused, Kingsley Nwabueze accused of complicity in the 2010 Independence Day bombing, which killed at least a dozen people, has opened at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The trial which began on a rather dramatic note, started from inside the chambers of the court and continued outside the court premises where one of the exhibit of the prosecution, a Mazda car was tendered as one of the exhibits.

The trial is starting more than four years after the accused persons were brought to court

The exhibit keeper for the Department of State Services (DSS) tendered a list of 13 exhibits submitted to him by investigative officers.

The defence lawyers rejected the list, which according to them was prepared in July 2014, several years into the lifetime of the case, but were overruled by the judge.

The trial was to continue outside the courtroom, following an application by the prosecution that one of the evidence, a Mazda 626 with registration number, FKY 319 FKA could not be brought into the courtroom.

At the proceedings outside the courtroom, the prosecution tendered the vehicle as exhibit from the blast scene.

The trial was then moved back into the courtroom, where the other 11 exhibits, which include 10 camouflage bullet proof vests, 30 black military belts, 20 jungle booths, 34 water holsters, were tendered as evidence.

Others were two camp tents, several water bottles and assorted camp stands and hooks.

For the defense counsel, it is a good start for the trial, even though some of them expressed concern that the evidence listed as exhibits from the blast scene in Abuja, were said to have been brought from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

After the examination of the prosecution witness, the court adjourned to April 27, 2015 for continuation of trial.

I Am Mentally And Physically Fit To Face Trial – Charles Okah

charles_okahThe alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Charles Okah, standing trial for alleged terrorism, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he is physically and mentally ready to face trial.

Okah told the court that with the improved condition of the Kuje Prisons, in Abuja, his health challenges that interrupted his trial at a time were over.

Okah also informed the court that he had suffered “gross violation of his fundamental human rights” since the case was instituted four years ago that, expressing confidence in the trial judge’s ability to dispense justice in the matter.

He said, “Contrary to the impression that the prosecution created for the court ‎to believe, I have not tried to delayed the trial.

“I want the trial to go on so that this evidence they have been talking about and the witnesses they said they have can be brought to court.

“I wanted them to come to court. I will want to know if they have been intimidated or bribed‎; I want to know if they are witnesses of truth.”

”Nobody is more desperate for the trial to go on more than those,” he added.

At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Alex Izinyon (SAN) told the court that the matter was adjourned in order to enable the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria to put a legal representation for Okah, following the withdrawal of Mr Festus Keyamo who had been representing Okah since the suit was instituted.

While the counsel from the Legal Aid Council, Mr Sule Abdullah, told the court that the council needed to procure the record of proceedings and other necessary court processes to enable them prepare for the trial, he also told the court that he was only standing for the council as the case file was yet to be assigned to a lawyer, and therefore sought for a short date to enable them go through the file.

The matter which started in December 2010 had suffered series of adjournments with a bulk of the court sessions dedicated to hearing of Okah’s interlocutory applications relating to his mental fitness to stand trial.

Two others were initially charged along with Okah and Obi Nwabueze. One of them who chose to have his case tried separately was decided on January 2, 2013, while the other person died in custody.

Charles Okah, a brother to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, is being tried alongside Obi Nwabueze for the bomb attack near the Eagle Square in Abuja.

Henry had been tried and is already serving jail terms in South Africa.