Abuja Bomb Blast: Army Captain Charged In Lagos


A retired Army Captain arrested in connection with the Independence Day bomb blast on 1 October, 2010 at Eagle Square, Abuja, Albert Ebibirika Oti, has been arraigned before an Igbosere magistrate’s court in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

He was docked on a two-count charge of aiding his friend, Henry Okah in the bomb attack and for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition

The legal officer of the State Security Service, SSS, Aisha Guang, told the court that Albert was arrested at his 34, Omolara Olusi Street, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos State on the suspicion of his involvement in the 1 October 2010 bomb blast at the Eagle Square.

She further stated that following the arrest, the residence of the defendant was searched after the issuance of a search warrant by a team of SSS, and items such as pump action gun with serial number 1067 with eleven catriges, pistol with serial number 4887 with empty magazine, seven rounds of mm ammunition and one air rifle with empty magazine were also recovered in the presence of the defendant.

She added that the defendant made a voluntary confessional statement wherein he stated that the pistol was given to him by his colleague in the army in 1990/91 when he was still serving.

He added that he had the intention of returning the pistol to the military or to his colleague that gave it to him but he had not been able to do so.

From investigation by the SSS, Aishat said the pistol was deliberately taken from the army armoury while he was retiring as the defendant further revealed in his statement that the pump action and air rifle belonged to his in-law simply identified as Preye Oguiki. Oguiki, she stated, gave him the two items for safe-keeping as well as to defend himself in case of any robbery attack (which he claimed was rampant in his locality).

Although the defendant stated that the pump action gun and the air rifle were licensed, police said he could not provide any.

In his statement, which was attached to the charge sheet, Albert confessed that he joined the Nigerian Army in 1986 as a Cadet and retired in 1999 as a captain.

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He admitted that he knew Henry Okah at Festac Town, Lagos in 1994/95 and that he has been receiving e-mails and phone calls from him and Jomo Gbomo.

He also stated that when Henry Okah relocated to South Africa, he called him twice and that he saved the phone number and on the Independence Day bomb blast, he received a message from Henry Okah and Jomo Gbomo.

The offence committed by the defendant, according to the police, is contrary to Section 3(1) of the Fire Arms (Special Provision Act) Cap R11, Vol. XX11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended within the Lagos Magisterial District on or about 21 February, 2012.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Aisha presented a request form for the detention of the defendant in custody under Section 264 (1) and 2, pending the issuance of legal advice by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

She told the court that the investigation of the matter is yet to be concluded as efforts are being made by the SSS operatives to locate the in-law of the defendant and to find out from the military the authenticity of his claim that the pistol was given to him in 1990 by his colleague in the army while he was a service man.

The presiding Magistrate, Mrs. F. O. Potoku, ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the advice from the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The matter was adjourned till 4 May 2012 for mention.

—Paul Iyohojie

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