October 1 bombing: Okah can stand trial – Court

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday said the suspected mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Mr. Charles Tombra Okah, was fit to stand trial.
Delivering a ruling on an application by Mr. John Ainetor, counsel to Okah, the presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held that the request by the accused person for a private medical evaluation to ascertain his true state of health “is an abuse of court process,” as Ainetor did not oppose the court’s earlier order for a medical examination of Okah at the National Hospital, Abuja.
He said: “The request for a private medical evaluation of the accused person is an abuse of court process. Its aim is to ensure that the trial does not proceed.

“There is no merit in the applicant’s motion on notice, and it is hereby dismissed.”
The presiding judge fixed trial of the accused persons for July 8 and 9, and October 7, 8 and 15, 2014.
He ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Kuje Prisons, Abuja, and be reproduced in court at the adjourned date.
The counsel to federal government, Dr. Alex Iziyon, had urged Justice Gabriel Kolawole to dismiss an application by the accused seeking a fresh psychiatric examination by a family doctor.
Okah, through his application dated January 13, 2014, asked the court to allow “an independent medical practitioner” to conduct a fresh test on him, arguing that the earlier one by the National Hospital was bias.

Charles Okah, a brother to former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Henry Okah, is being tried alongside Obi Nwabueze for the October 1, 2010, bomb attack near the Eagle Square in Abuja, which caused the death of at least 12 people.
Already, Henry Okah had been convicted by a South African court over the incident, just as another accused person, Edmund Ebiware, was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Abuja Federal High Court.
Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo, also known as General Gbokos, one of the suspected masterminds of the attack who was arraigned alongside Charles Okah, Nwabueze and Ebiware, died in detention in Kuje Prisons, Abuja.