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Independence Day bombing: Court insists on trial of Okah, others

Charles Okah in handcuff 

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed an application filed by the suspected terrorists believed to be behind the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja.

The suspects Charles Okah, Edmund Ebiware, Obi Nwabueze and Tiemkemfa Osuwo (aka General Gbokos) – had requested the court to stay proceedings on the ground that they had filed an appeal to challenge its ruling, which dismissed the motion to quash the charges levelled against them.

Also, the court ordered the State Security Service to take one of the accused, Charles Okah, to the National Hospital, Abuja for medical attention, following his claim that he was suffering from partial paralysis.

In his response, the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon, said Okah would be moved to the National Hospital directly from the court for medical treatment.

But Okah had, through his lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, filed a suit at the court claiming N10bn damages from the Federal Government.

Okah sued the FG for the inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as the psychological trauma and torture, which he had suffered in the hands of agents of the SSS.

Keyamo said the fumigation of the cell where Okah was detained with poisonous chemicals and the SSS decision to lock him up amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to dignity of human person and the right to life, as enshrined in Section 34 and Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He said, “The respondent’s continued refusal to allow the applicant participate in daily physical exercises in the prison, like the other inmates, amounts to a violation of his right to human dignity, as enshrined in section 34 of the 1999 Constitution.

“Also, the respondent’s refusal to allow the applicant to worship in the worship, like the other inmates, amounts to a violation of his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution.”

Keyamo asked the court to compel the SSS to allow Okah to enjoy all the rights accruable to other inmates in the prison and to order the security agency to pay N10bn as damages for maltreating him in their custody.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of Okah’s application, but Justice Kolawole named Feb 15 and 27 and March 14, 2012 for the trial of the accused persons.

The judge also fixed Jan 26, 2012 to hear the application for bail by the second accused person.

The court had observed that the grounds on which the accused’s application to stay proceeding was premised did not fulfill the conditions laid down by law.

Justice Kolawole therefore dismissed the application for lacking in merit.

The accused persons had earlier brought an application praying the court to quash the charges against them and at the same time challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

But the court had dismissed the application, saying that the accused had a case to answer and they go through a full trial.

Not satisfied with the ruling, the accused persons had filed an appeal against the decision through their counsel.

Okah was arrested, alongside the three others by agents of the SSS following the Independence Day bomb blasts in Abuja in 2010.

-Punch

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=17011

Posted by on Jan 21 2012. Filed under Latest Politics. 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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