The SSS today arraigned, Charles Okah, brother of Henry Okah at Wuse, Abuja Magistrate court. Four other suspects were also charged alongside Charles, one of them is alleged to have driven the wired cars from Port harcourt, Rivers state – where the SSS claim the bombs were set – to Abuja. Lawyers and friends of the accused persons were not allowed in Court “for Security
The agency claims that they have evidence that link Charles Okah directly to the Independence day bomb blasts in Abuja in which 12 lives were lost.” These five suspects were charged to court because it has been confirmed that they have direct links to the bomb blasts of October 1, 2010,’ SSS spokeswoman, Marilyn Ogar said.
They also allege that Charles was among those behind statements issued on behalf of MEND under the alias Jomo Gbomo.
Meanwhile, The Republic of South Africa reopened its case against suspected terrorist, Henry Okah, today. Prosecution lawyer, Shaun Abrahams, read a supplementary affidavit signed by the Police Services Officer in charge of the investigation, Noel Graeme Zeeman, which said prior to the detonation of the two vehicle-improvised explosive devices on 1 October in Abuja, two vehicles were purchased in Lagos on Mr Okah’s instructions.
According to the affidavit, the explosions took place under the supervision of Chima Orlu, who is said to have acted on the instructions of Mr Okah.
Mr Orlu’s telephone records show that he had been in contact with Mr Okah on numerous occasions leading up to October 1.
Mr Okah is said to have sent text messages to Mr Orlu on 30 September 2010 at 12h 38:11pm, and on October 1 at 6h 02:39am, 7h 40: 20am, 7h 41:22am and at 7h 41:35 am.
Mr Zeeman’s statement stressed that “of greater significance is that Mr Orlu sent an SMS to Mr Okah at precisely 10h 58:59 am on 1 October, 13h 13:01am and 13h 29:59pm on the same day.”
The Charge against the accused in Nigeria reads: “On or about 2nd September to October 1st, 2010 at Abuja, FCT, Edmond Ebiware, Rapheal Damfebo and Earnest Wosu conspired with one Henry Okah and others now at large to unlawfully prepare, plant and detonate explosives devices stored in motor cars and did carry out the said conspiracy which resulted in the death of 12 persons and destruction of public property at Shehu Shagari way, Maitama, Abuja, FCT and thereby committed the following offences; criminal conspiracy to commit a felony, intimidation and threat to life; voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous means; contrary to sections 97, 397 and 248 (2) of the penal code punishable under the same respective sections of the penal code.
“Further, the accused persons also committed conspiracy to commit a felony, to wit treason, treasonable felony ad terrorism contrary to sections 410 and 412 of the penal code (federal offences) and 15(2) of the EFCC Act, 2004 and punishable under the same sections of the respective penal code and ECFCC Act 2004.”
In South Africa, the bail hearing for Nigerian bombing suspect Henry Okah has been adjourned once again. Okah was arrested in connection with the terrorist car bombings early this month in Abuja during Nigeria’s Independence Day celebrations. VOA correspondent Scott Bobb, in Johannesburg, says, “This bail hearing, which is now…a week long, is basically because Mr. Okah has some very good lawyers, who are questioning the prosecution on everything. The prosecution wants to deny bail, saying that he could run away, leave the country and also could intimidate possible witnesses.”
In South Africa Defense lawyers want the prosecution to produce some evidence that Okah was involved in the blasts.
“The prosecution is reluctant to do so,” says Bobb, “saying this would compromise its ongoing investigation.” While not laying out much evidence at the hearing, the prosecution has indicated how it intends to proceed.
“They say that Mr. Okah and individuals in Nigeria exchanged text messages, emails and phone calls. And today, they said that he ordered his people in Nigeria to purchase the two cars that were used in the bomb attacks.”
Bobb says that news appeared to take Okah and his attorneys by surprise. The judge has told the prosecution that it must present some evidence of these allegations if he is to deny Okah bail. The hearing resumes Friday and could go on for some time, Bobb says, because of Okah’s good legal representation and resources.
“Henry Okah is a successful businessman. He owns a security company in Johannesburg. (He) came here, appealed for asylum, was granted asylum on the basis of his ties to the Niger Delta and did eventually obtain citizenship,” he says.
However, Bobb adds, “The (South African) Department of Home Affairs says it’s investigating this, saying he possibly used fraudulent documents to obtain this citizenship.”
While Okah acknowledges he’s a leader among his people, he denies any current relationship with MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
It’s not known whether South Africa will extradite Okah once it finishes its case against him.
“It’s clear that the South African authorities want to pursue their case. It looks like there has been communication and sharing of information between investigators in Nigeria and in South Africa. And South Africa – the government, the state – feels it has a case to make,” he says.
Bobb says South Africa has a good track record against terrorism. No attacks occurred during the World Cup, which was held in the country this year.
“They want to maintain that record. So, they’re very keen to show that they will rigorously and vigorously prosecute and pursue any suspected terrorists,” he says.