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Published On: Mon, Nov 24th, 2014

Court strikes out charges against ‘Nyanya bomber’

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OgwucheBy Aisha Biola Raji with agency report

A federal court in Abuja has acquitted Aminu Ogwuche, the alleged mastermind of the Nyanya bomb attack in Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has reported.

The court struck out a two-count terrorism charge against Mr. Ogwuche yesterday, after months of trial for the April 2014 attack which killed more than 70 people.

The court hinged its decision on lack of diligent prosecution by the state.

Mr. Ogwuche, a suspected Boko Haram member, was accused by the federal government of being behind the attack.

The blast at the Nyanya Motor Park occurred during morning peak hours as residents were hurrying to work.

The government said Mr. Ogwuche fled to Sudan after coordinating the attack.

He was later repatriated to Nigeria to face charges.

The federal high court judge who struck out terrorism charges against Oguche said his decision was based on lack of “diligent prosecution by the state”.

The Nigerian Police had filed a two-count charge against Mr. Ogwuche, but the case could not proceed due to bickering between the police and the State Security Service, SSS.

The prosecution counsel was absent from court hearing yesterday when the case resumed.

“This criminal charge is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution by the complainant, Inspector General of Police and his prosecutor,” the judge ruled.

 The judge did not however order Mr. Ogwuche’s release; an indication that government could file fresh charges against him.

But Mr. Ogwuche has already challenged his continued detention, asking the court to compel the SSS to release him or charge him anew.

On Monday, the judge also granted an oral application by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, to allow Mr. Ogwuche’s family members visit him.

The judge ordered that two family members, and three attorneys from Mr. Raji’s chamber, be allowed to see the suspected bomber.

The application was not opposed by the counsels representing the SSS, Clifford Osagie, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Taiwo Abidogun.

The judge also ruled that Mr. Ogwuche be given medical care while in custody, and if need be, be referred to the National Hospital.

The presiding judge has fixed December 5 for hearing on the application on his continued detention.

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