Court fixes March 7 for judgment in Okah’s October I bombing trial
The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed March 7 for judgment in the terrorism charge the Federal Government filed against alleged masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bomb blast in Abuja-Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole gave the date after the prosecution and defence counsels adopted their final addresses in a case that has dragged on for over seven years after commencement of the trial.
Okah, Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo were initially arraigned before the court on December 7, 2010, over their alleged involvement in the bomb blast, which left about 11 people dead and several others injured.
However, Francis-Osvwo later died in prison custody, while Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, is serving life sentence upon his conviction in 2013, leaving Okah and Nwabueze to face their separate trials.
In the cause of trial, the prosecuting counsel, Alex Izinyon (SAN) called 17 witnesses to prove that the defendants actually committed the crime.
As the prosecution closed his case, the defendants had filed a no-case-submission.
But on June 1, 2017, Justice Kolawole dismissed the submissions made by Okah’s lawyer, Emeka Okoroafor and Oghenovo Otemu, who stood for the second defendant in respect of the application for the submission
Dismissing the application, the court held that the prosecution has made a prima facie case through testimonies of witnesses, which linked the defendants with the charges, thereby requiring them to explain.
The court therefore ordered Okah and his partner to open their defence on July 5, 2017. On December 15, 2017, the defence team closed their case after calling seven witnesses.
Meanwhile, during yesterday’s proceedings, Okah urged the court to discharge and acquit him following the failure of the prosecuting counsel to prove the charges against him.
Also, lawyer to Nwabueze, Otemu, adopted his final address, pleading the court to hold that the Federal Government had failed to prove its case against him due to contradicting extra-judicial statements made by the second defendant.