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Abuja explosion: Charles Okah slumps in court

One of the suspects in last year’s bomb blasts in Abuja, Charles Okah, on Tuesday, slumped barely five minutes after stepping into the dock to continue his trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Okah and other accused persons, Obi Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) are being prosecuted by the State Security Services following their alleged involvement in treason and the October 1, 2010 bomb blasts in Abuja.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who had earlier observed that Okah was looking sick, had ordered that a chair be brought for him to sit down in the dock.

But before the chair was brought he collapsed in court, a development which led to the standing down of the matter until the intervention of the medical team attached to the Nigerian Prison Service.

The judge later in his chamber, ordered that Okah be moved to the National Hospital, Abuja to receive medical attention, directing that the accused should be under the surveillance of the SSS.

He later adjourned the matter till January 27 for the continuation of the trial.

The prosecution had slammed two separate charges against the accused persons.

The SSS filed eight-count charges concerning the October 1, 2010 bomb blast involving explosion of dynamite near the Eagle Square, Abuja and one-count charge of 22-paragraph bordering on the explosion at a post-amnesty seminar organised by Vanguard Newspapers in Warri, Delta State, where governors of Delta, Edo and Imo states were in attendance.

Before their arraignment at the Federal High Court, they were brought before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja where their lawyers told the court that it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

They also prayed the Magistrate, Hafsat Soso to ensure that the matter be taken to the appropriate court.

The lawyers to the accused persons, Ugochukwu Ezekiel, and Oghenovo Otemu had earlier filed a bail application and argued same.

But the SSS lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), opposed the application, saying that the matter bothered on state security and that such offence was not bailable.

After hearing the argument of all the parties, the court upheld the argument of Izinyon and thereby refused to admit the four accused persons to bail but rather promised a speedy trial in other to give fair hearing and justice to both the accused and the state.

Having refused their bail application, the court had moved into trial of the accused and the prosecuting lawyer applied to amend the charge by substituting the year under which the accused was brought from 1990 to 2004.

The application was granted and the prosecution moved ahead to read the charge to the accused in order for them to take a fresh plea but the defence counsel opposed the taking of fresh plea, saying that they have some documents, which are yet to be certified.

Justice Kolawole then refused the opposition and ordered that the accused should be allowed to take their plea.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge after which the court adjourned the matter till Tuesday for continuation of trial but which could not hold due to the poor health condition of Charles Okah.

-Punch

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=2565

Posted by on Jan 19 2011. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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