Charles Okah, the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 bombing of Eagle Square, Abuja, Wednesday, denied knowing the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) existed or having any dealing with the group.
He also denied knowledge whether the group is a militant organisation or not. He said his knowledge of MEND does not go beyond what he reads in the papers about its activities, just like every other Nigerian.
Okah made the denial when being cross examined by the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN).
“Do you know MEND”, ‘no, I don’t know MEND”, Okah replied.
Izinyon asked again, “Do you know that MEND is a militant group”, to which Okah answered, “I don’t know except the one I read in the papers like you and every other Nigerian.”
” Do u you know Jomo Gbomogbomo?, No, I don’t know him”
Izinyon asked again “So you don’t know he is the spokesman of MEND”, “I don’t know”, Okah replied
He also denied ever knowing one Bassey Umoren, prosecuting witness 3, who alleged that he was hired by Okah to wed explosives to a compartment of a car.
He said he does not know him and he never gave him contract to wed explosives to a car.
“How long do you know PW 3, Bassey Umoren, you never even saw him in your house one day? “, “No, never. I only met him for the first in court here.”
“If a stranger comes to carry out some wedding work in your compound, you would not know him,” “I don’t know him, I will even shoot him.”
Izinyon: “You said you don’t know him but met him in court, go to your disposition where you claimed to have known him”.
Okah: “The information about Umoren was given to me by Femi Falana, who was my brother’s lawyer in Jos. He said that Bassey is perpetual witness of DSS, Falana gave me the information”
“You told the DSS that you gave Nwabueze (co accused) N2m to buy dollars to spend?” Okah said he sold that dummy to the DSS because he wanted to distract them from the money.
According to him, he used the money to pay his child’s school fees in Canada.
“But when you were confronted with the statement that Chibueze was a family friend and gave him the money, you admitted”, “Yes, I agree with parts of the statement but the other I said was to distract the DSS”, Okah replied.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, the trial Judge adjourned till Nov. 9 for continuation of trial.
Okah, Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) were first arraigned before the court on Dec. 7, 2010 over their alleged involvement in the Oct. 1, 2010 blast.
The blast left about 12 people dead and several others injured. The court had earlier sentenced Edmund Ebiware to life imprisonment, while the fourth defendant, Tekemfa Francis-Osvwo died in prison.
On June 1, 2017, the court said both Okah and Nwabueze had case to answer with respect to the incident.
Justice Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, dismissed the defendants’ no-case submission which they had filed after the prosecution called its 17 witnesses and tendered documentary exhibits as evidence to prove its case.
The Judge held that contrary to the contention of the defendants, the prosecution led by Dr. Izinyon (SAN) had made out a prima facie case against Okah and Nwabueze, warranting them to offer explanations in respect of the charges preferred against them.
Justice Kolawole ruled: “The prosecution has made out prima facie case through testimonies of witnesses which linked the defendants with the charges.
“It requires them to offer explanations.”
It will be recalled that Charles Okah’s younger brother, Henry, alleged former leader of MEND, had been prosecuted and convicted in South Africa for the Abuja bomb attack.