The 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.