Symbol of justice
Two surviving victims of the bomb blasts that led to the death of 16 persons at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Suleja, Niger State on April 8, 2011 Tuesday testified before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on how the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) left them with indelible bodily harm.
The two victims, Kayode Olatunji and Musa Audu, narrated their ordeals as evidence in the trial of six suspects alleged to have masterminded the bombing of INEC office Suleja.
The accused persons who were charged with a five-count offence bothering on acts of terrorism are: Shuaibu Abubakar, Salisu Ahmed, Umar Babagana Umar, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adam and Umar Ibrahim.
The Boko Haram suspects are standing trial for allegedly conspiring among themselves and others now at large to prepare, plant and detonate IEDs at various public places which led to the deaths of 16 persons at the INEC office in Suleja on April 8, 2011.
Oher offences alleged to have been committed include the death of three persons at a political rally in Suleja on March 3, 2011; death of three Peace Officers on May 23, 2011 at Dakwa Village in Bwari Area Council of the FCT and the deaths of three persons at the All Christian Fellowship Church, Suleja on July 10, 2011.
The suspects were also alleged to have been trained in weapons handling by one Ibrahim Bashir Madalla who is still at large.
Olatunji, a 300 level student of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, while testifying, said he had gone to check his name on INEC ad hoc staff list when the explosion went off.
He said the impact of the blast left him with multiple fracture, nose, ear and serious eyes injuries, adding that bone and flesh grafting were done on his legs to correct the anomaly.
Olatunji explained that the blast which went off at about 5p.m. of April 8, 2011 caused enormous destruction to the lives of innocent people, saying that “I was stocked in the midst of dead bodies.’’
Continuing, he said: “When I recovered minutes after the explosion, I saw myself enmeshed in the blood of a woman blown opened by the blast.
“We were taken to the General Hospital Suleja and left there without treatment for hours before we were later evacuated to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital.
“Five specialists attended to me within the ten months of my stay in the hospital but my situation has not been fully addressed.
“I can neither see very well nor hear very well, just as I cannot walk without the support from the clutches; I have been limited seriously.”
In his evidence, Audu, a teacher at the Girls’ Secondary School, Suleja, said he had gone to check the INEC ad hoc staff short-list when he heard a “big bang.”
Audu said he became unconscious as a result of the explosion, adding that “I discovered the flesh of my legs was deep opened.
“I was sandwiched in between dead bodies, some of the bodies were dismembered and I began to cry for help.
“When help did not come, I used my bottoms with support from my hands to move away from the lifeless bodies.
“They had carried out bone and flesh grafting on my left leg and I cannot still walk without a support.”
Earlier, a computer forensic expert from the State Security Service (SSS) simply called Reuben said he had investigated a cell-phone confiscated from one of the suspect and found it to contain incriminating elements.
According to him, the cell-phone contains pictures of how to make bombs, assault rifles, military uniforms and some bombs element.
This aspect of the testimony was, however, challenged during his cross-examination as Mr. Emeka Okoro, counsel to the suspects claimed the cell-phone could have been tempered with to support the prosecution of the case.