Verdict Is In For Charles Okah, Co-Conspirator Over Independence Day Bombing
The Federal High Court in Abuja has jailed for life Charles Okah and his co-defendant, Obi Nwabueze, for being masterminds of the bomb blasts which occurred in Abuja on October 1, 2010, and earlier in Warri, Delta State, on March 15 of the same year.
The two convicts were said to have planned the attacks with Charles’ elder brother, Mr. Henry Okah, the leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, who had been convicted of the same offence and sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment by a South African court in 2013.
Pronouncing the judgment on Wednesday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole convicted the two men in his 145-page judgment which its delivery lasted four hours, 45 minutes.
With the allcocutus (plea for mercy) and sentencing proceedings conducted after the main judgment was read, the day’s court session which ended at about 6.56pm lasted close to six hours.
The judgment was delivered amid heavy presence of policemen surrounding the court premises as early as 8.30am ahead of the judgment which the judge started delivering about 1pm.
Delivering judgment in the case which commenced on December 7, 2010, when the convicts took their pleas, Justice Kolawole ruled that the prosecution, led by Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), proved the charges preferred against Charles and Nwabueze beyond reasonable doubt.
The two men were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on each of the five out of the eight counts preferred against them and two others.
The rest of the three counts were in relation to their former co-defendants, Edmund Ebiware, who had been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in a separate trial which he requested.
The convicts, including Ebiware, were charged under sections 15(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004, which prescribe life imprisonment as punishment.
Justice Kolawole, also in his judgment, ordered the forfeiture of the army uniforms and other military paraphernalia recovered from the vehicles used for the Abuja blasts to the Federal Government.
He ordered the prosecuting counsel to personally ensure that the materials were submitted to the appropriate authority and inventory of the said materials submitted to the court after the handover.
Okah and Nwabueze, alongside Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) were first arraigned before the court on December 7, 2010, in connection with the 2010 Independence Day and Warri bomb blasts.