3rd May, 2012
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday granted the request by Mr. Edmund Ebiware, one of the suspects arrested in connection with the 2010 Independence Day twin bomb blasts in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to be tried separately from the other suspects.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole granted the order following an application by Mr. Ebiware’s lawyer, Mr. Oghenevo Otemu, for an independent trial.
The suspect argued that his trial with the other accused persons, including Mr. Charles Okah, will be a distraction for his defence because he had no contact with them until their arrest.
In his ruling on the application, Justice Kolawoe held that, “this applicant has asked for a separate trial and in the absence of any valid opposition, the court shall have no option but to grant the application. The applicant had repeatedly held that he was wrongly charged with those alleged to have orchestrated the Independence Day bombing in Abuja, the court is obliged to grant the accused applicant’s prayer for a separate trial”.
The court noted however that the granting of the prayer would not in any way negate the charges brought against him.
“This is the dynamics in law, all is to ensure justice for all. The new process will not also affect the evidence available to the prosecutor. The name of the third accused person (Edmund Ebiware) is hereby severed from the list of those charged for the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja. He will be in the instance tried separately,” the court ordered.
Others standing trial on the bombings are Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze. The fourth accused person, Tiemkemfa Osuvwo, died in Kuje Prison. They are standing trial over their alleged involvement in the Independent Day Abuja twin-bombings.
They are accused of levying war against the state in order to intimidate President Goodluck Jonathan, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 37(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 1990.
They are also accused of terrorism and conspiracy to commit treason, contrary to Section 40 (2) of the Criminal Code CAP 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 1990.
Ebiware was specifically accused of withholding information on the planned attack by not using reasonable means to leak the information to the President and Peace Officer to foil the planned attack.
The trial was adjourned till May 19 and 20, and July 10, 11 and 12.