By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The alleged mastermind of October 1, 2010 bomb blast, Charles Okah will on March 7, know fate on the trial of conspiracy and terrorism brought against him by the federal government.
Justice Gabriel Kolawale of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed the date to deliver judgement on the eight years old case after parties in the matter adopted their final addresses.
Okah, alongside Obi Nwabueze, are being prosecuted in the amended 8-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/186/2010, following a bomb blast that disrupted Nigeria’s Independence Day activities at the Eagle Square in Abuja attended by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The SSS accused Mr. Okah of being behind the bomb blast, which killed over a dozen people and wounded many.
Henry Okah, his elder brother, had been separately tried and convicted and now in prison in South Africa.
When the matter came up yesterday, the 1st defendant (Okah) urged the court to discharge and acquit him following the failure of the prosecuting counsel to prove the Federal Government’s case against him.
Also, counsel to the Nwabueze, (second defendant) O. O Otemu, adopted his final address, urging the court to hold that the Federal government had failed to prove its case against him, due to contradictory extra judicial statements made by the 2nd defendant.
“My Lord, the PW2 in ‘Trial-within-trial’ gave evidence that the 2nd defendant made voluntary statement on 18th, August 2010, at the headquarters of the SSS.
“This was corroborated by the prosecution witness; my lord, uptill now, that statement is not before this court and the prosecution tactically left it out. This amounts to concealment of evidence” Otemu submitted.
He therefore urged court to hold that the concealed evidence was favourable to the 2nd defendant.
The defendants had in December, 2017 closed their defence after calling six witnesses.
The prosecution Counsel, Alex Izinyon SAN, informed the court that the prosecution adopted and relied on the addresses filed on 31January, 2018 in respect of the first defendant.
Izinyon prayed the court to hold that prosecution had proved his case on count 1 and 8 of the amended charge dated 10 January, 2011.
The prosecution premised it’s argument on Section 1 and 2 of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission Act, which states that the defendant should be convicted and sentenced accordingly.
Further in his submissions, Izinyon draw attention of the court to the exhibit E7 which said the defendant issued N2million Zenith bank cheque which the second defendant cashed .
According to him, part of the money was used to purchased vehicles bought from PW5 and PW 11 who are the car dealers.
“The explanation of the first defendant as regards to the N2 million cheque is riddled with material contradiction.
In his statement he said that he asked the 2nd defendant to confirm the money, used it to buy dollars for his children’s school fees but later run convert the money to naira and spend it.”
He therefore, prayed the court to convict the defendants accordingly. Delivery his ruling, Justice Kolawale fixed March 7, for judgement.
It will be recalled that as the prosecution closed his case, the defendants filed a no-case-submission.
But on June 1st, 2017, Justice Kolawole dismissed the submissions made by Okah’s lawyer Emeka Okoroafor and Oghenovo Otemu (for 2nd defendant) in respect of the application.
In dismissing the no-case-submission, the court held that, “the prosecution has made out prima facie case through testimonies of witnesses which linked the defendants with the charges, that requires them to offer explanation.