Thursday, March 15, 2012

Independence Day Bombing: Court Denies Okah Bail Again

Charles Okah
Okah who was initially standing trial alongside Obi Nwabueze, Edmund Ebuware and Tiemkemfa Francis, (but Francis died on 2 March in prison custody,) for the second time running, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday declined a fresh application for bail brought before it by suspected Independence Day twin bomb blast masterminds, Charles Okah and two others.

The court also stayed proceedings in the matter to allow the Court of Appeal reach a decision on an application filed by Okah and Nwabueze challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

At recent proceedings, counsel to Okah and Nwabueze, Mr. Oghenovo Otemu orally applied for bail of his clients after he informed the court that the inhuman conditions the accused persons are subjected to in Kuje prisons has resulted to their ill-health.
He told the court that the accused persons are still being locked up in their cells for 24 hours and are not allowed to exercise or go to worship centres.
He prayed to the court to grant the accused persons bail on liberal terms so as to enable them attend to their health issues.
Opposing the application, prosecuting counsel Alex Iziyon, a senior advocate of Nigeria, asked the court to be hesitant in exercising its discretion in granting the application.
He said statements made by Mr. Otemu regarding the accused persons’ living conditions in prison, is malicious, unverified and highly speculative.
He further argued that no material has been placed before the court to support the allegations that the SSS instructed prison officials to torture the accused persons.
Denying the application for bail, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said he had already refused a written application for bail, as such they cannot come back orally.

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