Nyanya Bombing: FG Arraigns 6 On 8-count Charge Of Terrorism
The Federal Government on Friday arraigned six men before the Federal High Court, Abuja on an eight-count charge bordering on terrorism over the April 14, 2014 Nyanya bus station bombing.
The accused were arrested by security agents following investigations into the bombing which killed at least 75 persons and injured many others. The accused persons are: Aminu Ogwuche (alleged mastermind earlier arrested in Sudan and repatriated to Nigeria), Ahmad Abubakar, Mohammed Ishaq, Ya’u Saidu, Anas Isah and Nasiru Abubakar.
The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, after taking the plea of the accused who all pleaded not guilty to the charges, remanded them in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The accused persons were alleged to have conspired to commit an act of terrorism by driving a Volkswagen golf car laden with improvised explosive devices. Accordingly, the accused persons parked same at the motor park which was later detonated and killed about 75 innocent persons and injured several others.
According to the charge sheet, the offence is contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013, punishable under the same section.
Counts 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively border on their committing terrorism act, professing to be members of Boko Haram, access to information about the group and failing to inform security agents.
The four counts contravene Section 1 (2) (a), Section 16, Section 8 (a), (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013, punishable under the same sections accordingly.
Count 6, specifically accuses Ogwuche of “knowingly and directly supporting and giving various sums of money at different times and places in Abuja to widows of Boko Haram members.’’
Count 7 accuses Ogwuche also of carrying out surveillance and identifying Silver Bird Galleria and other locations in Abuja as potential targets of terrorist attacks.
The 8th count also specifically accuses Ogwuche of masterminding the attack on the bus station which culminated in the death of at least 75 people, wounding many others and destroying property.
Counts 6, 7 and 8 contravene the provisions of Section 5( b) and Section 1 (2) (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013, punishable under the same sections accordingly.
Following the not guilty plea of the accused, Mr Mohammed Diri, the Director of Public Prosecution, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, said the prosecution was ready to commence their trial.
Diri also made an oral application for the accused to be remanded in DSS custody, the protection of witnesses and an adjourned date for their trial to commence.
Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), the lead counsel to Ogwuche, first accused person, however, argued that the accused ought to be remanded in prison custody since the DSS had completed its investigation.
Messrs Abdul Mohammed, counsel for second accused, Ahmed Yauri, counsel for third and fourth accused, Abdulhameed Mohammed, counsel for fifth accused and Harold Eze, counsel for sixth accused, all aligned with Raji’s submission.
Ruling on the oral application for custody, the judge remanded the accused persons in DSS custody in line with the prosecution counsel’s submission.
He said that Section 27 (1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Amendment Act (TPAA) gives the prosecution agency the right to apply for the detention of terrorism suspects/accused for a period of 90 days.
Mohmmed adjourned the case until March 17 and 18 for the commencement of the trial. (NAN)