Independence Day Bombing : Court slams life imprisonment on Okah, Nwabueze

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, who delivered judgment on the eight-count terrorism charge the Federal Government filed against the mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bomb blast that killed 12 persons held that Okah, who is the younger brother of former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Henry Okah, and his accomplice, Nwabueze, used dynamites to unleash acts of terrorism on Nigerians and foreign dignitaries who had gathered at the Eagles Square for the occasion.

Justice Kolawole further 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.

He said: “The defendants are found guilty as charged in the five of the eight-count charges contained in the amended charge dated 10th January, 2011 and filed January 11, 2011, which relate to them.

“They are accordingly convicted as charged,” Justice Kolawole held.

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,” he declared.

While the Okah brothers were alleged to have coordinated as well as procured all the materials that were used for the attack, the government told the court that it was Nwabueze, who 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 who testified before the court, Okah and Nwabueze who had earlier denied their alleged involvement in the attack, called three witnesses each to establish their innocence.

One of the alleged masterminds of the bombing incident, Mr. Osvwo Tekemfa Francis, aka ‘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, the government 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.

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