ABUJA TWIN BOMBINGS: Court Rejects Call To Quash Charges

Charles Okah

Charles Okah

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday refused an application brought before him by Mr. Charles Okah and three others standing trial over the Independence day twin bombings at the Federal Capital city, Abuja.


Charles Okah

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.


Furthermore, they protested the filing of the proof of evidence after they had taken their plea in the first charge and that it breached their constitutional right to fair hearing.


Contending that the charges brought against them is oppressive, they argued that they will suffer double jeopardy if allowed to face trial on two similar charges and urged the court to quash the charge.


Others standing trial alongside Mr. Okah are Mr. Obi Nwabueze, Edmond Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo, alias General Gbokos.


In his ruling, Justice Kolawole held that there is sufficient material in the proof of evidence requiring the explanations of the accused persons and noted that it is only through a trial that those explanations will emerge.


According to the judge, proof of evidence provides skeletal framework for the ingredients in the charge, and that the court needs only to see if a prima facie case has been established. He held that having read the proof of evidence, that he is of the view that the accused persons have some explanations to do and that it is the evidence of witnesses and cross examination that will give flesh to the skeleton which the proof of evidence represents.


On the splitting of the charge, the court held that one of the charges only contained allegation against three of the accoused persons while the other relates to the four accused persons. It also noted that one of the charge concerns the concealment of the knowledge of the plot to detonate explosives during the Independence Day celebrations in Abuja while the other relates to acts of terrorism.


The court also held that the accused persons had ample time to have studied the proof of evidence since they were served well ahead of the plea taking on an amended charge. Consequently, the court dismissed the application to quash as the grounds were unsustainable.


Trial of the suspected bombers was fixed to commence from 10 to 12 October after the court’s vacation.


By Nnamdi Felix / Abuaj

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