Independence day bombings: Court slates May 16 to decide Okah’s fate

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, will on May 16, 2017 rule on a no case submission filed by the detained leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) Charles Okah and his co-defendants, Obi Nwabueze, who are standing trial for their involvement in the Independence Day bombing at the Eagle Square Abuja in 2010.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, counsel to the first defendant, Emeka Okafor, who stood in for Samuel Zibiri, said the first defendant has filed a no case submission, saying that, from the evidence placed before the court, the prosecution has not been able to establish a prima-facie case against the first defendant (Charles Okah).

He urged the court to dismiss all the charges against Okah.

According to Okafor, the sole issue for determination before the court is to determine the credibility of evidence leading to element of proof.

“On the second point, on vital element of offence, no evidence of statement of account bearing the name of first defendant from which they said N2 million was paid in perpetuation of the alleged offence before the court.

“Failure to produce the account number is a failure of fundamental element to establish that the alleged payment was purportedly carried out by first defendant to the second defendant.

“Oral evidence cannot override concrete fact. There is no prima facie case against the first defendant that he made payment to the second defendant. From the foregoing argument, I urge the court to dismiss the charges against the first defendant.

“It is our final submission that Okah does not need to go through rigorous trial as the prosecutor has no evidence to prove any ingredient of offence he is charged with. We urge you my Lord to discharge him”, he told the court.

Counsel to the second defendant, Oghenovo Otemu, aligned himself with the submission of counsel to the first defendant and further held that the prosecution has not been able to link his client with the alleged offence he is charged with.

He said, the prosecution’s inability to link the second defendant with offences was fatal to the prosecution of his client, urging the court to uphold the no case submission and dismiss the charges against the second defendant.

In his response, the prosecution counsel, Dr Alex Iziyon (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the no case submission by the defendants, saying the prosecution has been able to establish a prima facie case against them.

Iziyon pleaded with the court to order the defendants to face their trial.

“The answer of linking the defendant with the N2 million has been finally dealt with. We called bank officials as witnesses, who testified.

“I hold that evaluating the evidence, there is something for Okah to explain. Even in his evidence, he confessed that he gave the second defendant the money. The defence counsel raising credibility of evidence should be put on hold until the totality of the case is determined.”

He urged the court to dismiss the no case submission “and ask them to enter their defence.”

Iziyon submitted further that it will be premature to expand the scope of linking both the first and second defendants, adding that, “When we go into the merit of the case, we will expand the link between both. Suffice to say that the second defendant was the Chief of Staff of the first defendant, he coordinated the plans.

“The essential element of evidence has been established, he drove the vehicle, he has to explain his role in the matter. He has to explain what he was doing with vehicle welded with bomb,. Was he selling pure water or carrying tomatoes with such a car?  He has to explain his role, if any.

“I call on your Lordship to dismiss the no case application”, Iziyon submitted.

The trial Judge, Justice Gabriel  Kolawale after listening to both parties in the matter, adjourned till May 16, 2017 to deliver ruling in the no case submission.

 

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