Substitution Of Defence Lawyer Stalls Trial Of Suspected Bomber Of Thisday Office

The trial of the suspected bomber of Thisday Newspaper’s office in Kaduna, Mustapha Umar could not commence at the Federal High Court in Abuja as his lawyer, Nureni Sulaiman said that he had just been briefed by the suspect.

The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola citing the interest of fair hearing, consequently adjourned the case till 29 April.

Mr Umar was accused of bombing SOJ Plaza in Kaduna state occupied by Thisday, The Moment and The Sun Newspapers.

At the last hearing, the suspect was represented by Felix Umai and Mohammed Umar, both of Manga chambers in Abuja; he however had changed counsel as he was represented at the resumed hearing by Mr Sulaiman who told the court that he was just briefed on the case in court.

Before the adjournment, the prosecutor, Simon Labaran had asked the court to hear his application to exclude members of the public except the press and the parties to the case, from hearing the proceedings.

The defence counsel however objected saying that the constitution mandated the trial to be in the open.

The judge therefore directed the defence counsel to file his response to the application. He also directed him to file the defence of his client to the charges and front load it to enable the court handle the case with dispatch.

He also ordered that the suspect be remanded in Kuje prison even as he directed the prison officials to allow the suspect access to his lawyer and family to enable him prepare his defence adequately.

Justice Ademola also directed the prison officials to make sure that the accused was brought to court at the appropriate time.

The suspect is been charged on a one count of terrorism related act.

He was alleged to have driven a white Honda academy car with registration number AL306MKA with improvised explosives devices into the premises of SOJ Plaza and detonated same.

Alleged ThisDay Bomber Pleads Not Guilty

A suspect arrested for planning to bomb ThisDay office in Kaduna, Mustapher Mohammed, on Monday, pleaded not guilty to one count charge of terrorism at an Abuja High Court.

Mustapher Umar was arrested on 26th April 2012 in a white Honda marked Al 306 MKA allegedly laden with improvised explosive devices.

He was found at  Sog Complex, housing  ThisDay Newspaper, The Moment and The Sun in Kaduna.

On the the same day, the ThisDay office complex was bombed in Jabi Area of Abuja.

When the charge was read to him, Umar pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor, Simeon Labaran urged the court to set a date for the commencement of trial but Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered for a house cleaning job on the part of the prosecution.

The court also directed the prosecutor to file Proof of Evidence, summary of its case, list of witnesses and other relevant documents within the next two weeks. The defense lawyer is to respond to the charges against his client, within two weeks.

Before the court adjourned to 12th of March for trial, the Defence lawyer, Mr. Felix Umahi sought an order of the court to allow him and a member of the accused person’s family access to his client.

Justice Ademola who agreed with the defense counsel, however made an order for access to be granted to only the legal team of the accused person.

He also set the 18th through to the 22nd of March for the defense counsel to make its case.