Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja will on March 7 decide the fate of Charles Okah and his alleged accomplices in the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja.
Trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, wednesday announced that he would deliver his judgment on that day in the suit brought against Okah and two others over their alleged involvement in the crime.
Okah, Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) were initially arraigned before the court on December 7, 2010 over their alleged involvement in the bomb blast which left about 12 people dead and several others injured.
However, Francis-Osvwo was said to have died in prison custody, while Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, is serving a life sentence upon his conviction in 2013, leaving Okah and Nwabueze to face trial.
The federal governmentâ€™s amended eight-count charge is marked FHC/ABJ/CR/186/2010.
In the cause of trial, the prosecuting counsel, Alex Izinyon, SAN called 17 witnesses to prove that the defendants actually committed the offence.
But the defendants however filed a no-case-submission which was dismissed by Justice Kolawole on June 1, 2017.
In dismissing the no-case-submission, the court held: â€œThe prosecution has made out prima facie case through testimonies of witnesses which linked the defendants with the charges, that requires them to offer explanation.â€
Consequently, the court ordered the defendants to open their defence on July 5, 2017.
On December 15, the defence team closed their case after calling seven witnesses.
Meanwhile, at yesterdayâ€™s proceeding, the 1st defendant (Okah) urged the court to discharge and acquit him following the failure of the prosecuting counsel to prove the case against him.
Similarly, Nwabueze (2nd defendant) adopted his final address by pleading with 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.
â€œMy Lord, the PW2 in â€˜Trial-within-trialâ€™ gave evidence that the 2nd defendant made voluntary statement on 18th, August 2010, at the headquarters of the SSS.
â€œThis was corroborated by the prosecution witness; my lord, up till now, that statement is not before this court and the prosecution tactically left it out.
â€œThis amounts to concealment of evidence,â€ his lawyer submitted.
He therefore, urged the court to hold that the concealed evidence was favourable to the 2nd defendant.
On his part, the federal governmentâ€™s lawyer, Izinyon while adopting his address, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged and sentenced accordingly.
Izinyon described Okah as â€œa schemer, and the facilitator of the terrorism act on October 1, 2010.
â€œThe 1st defendant is likened to fox in a folk play. He is neck, head and toe deep in terrorism act.â€
After taking submissions of counsel, Justice Kolawole adjourned till March 7 for judgment.