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By Bukola Olasanmi
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday found Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze guilty of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing at Eagles Square in Abuja.
The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole while delivering judgment on the 8-count terrorism charge the Federal Government filed against the mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bomb blast that killed twelve persons at the Eagle Square in Abuja, held that Okah, who is younger brother to former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Mr. Henry Okah, and his accomplice, Mr. Obi Nwabueze, used dynamites to unleash acts of terrorism on Nigerians and foreign dignitaries who had gathered at the Eagle Square for the occasion.
Justice Kolawole held that both the documentary and oral evidence that were adduced by the Federal Government, linked the convicts (Okah and Nwabueze) to the Independence Day bombing at the Eagles Square.
“The defendants are found guilty as charged in the five out of the eight-count charge contained in the amended charge dated 10 January, 2011 and filed January 11, 2011, which relate to them.
“They are accordingly convicted as charged,” Justice Kolawole held.
Furthermore, the court dismissed the convicts’ plea for clemency, and agreed with the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), who had urged the court to discountenance the convicts’ allocutus (plea for mercy).
“The convicts are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment,” the court declared.
It would be recalled that while the Okah brothers were alleged to have coordinated as well as procured all the materials that were used for the attack, FG, told the court that it was the 2nd defendant, Nwabueze, that helped them to fix Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, in two cars it said were used for the bombing.
Whereas FG called a total of 17 witnesses that testified before the court, Okah and Nwabueze who had earlier denied their alleged involvement in the terrorist attack, called three witnesses each to establish their innocence.
It will be recalled that one of the alleged masterminds of the bombing incident, Mr. Osvwo Tekemfa Francis, a.k.a ‘General-Gbokos’, died in prison custody, while the high court, in a separate trial, jailed the 3rd accused person, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment.
All the defendants were initially arraigned before the High Court on December 7, 2010 and subsequently re-arraigned on January 12, 2011.
While adopting its final address on Wednesday, FG, insisted that the proof of evidence it adduced before the court was sufficient to secure the conviction of the defendants.
It maintained that oral and documentary evidence that were tendered by the prosecution, connected the defendants to the October 1, 2010, bomb blast.