Independence bombing: prosecution witness denies part of statement

Charles Okah

Charles Okah

Mr Humphrey Ohikhuare of the DSS, a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Charles Okah at the Federal High Court, Abuja has disowned part of his witness statement on oath against the defendant.

Ohikhuare reneged paragraph six of the statement during his cross examination by Mr Samuel Zibiri, counsel to Okah on Monday.

The witness said he did not depose to statement that Okah sent a consignment from Lagos to Abuja.He instead said that his correct deposition hinged on the fact that the defendant sent the consignment from Lagos to PortHarcourt.

When asked whether the said consignment contained explosive items, the witness answered in the negative.“When we opened the bags, they were scanned. They did not contain explosives items as earlier suspected,’’ Ohikhuare said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that an attempt by the Prosecuting Counsel, Dr Alex Iziyon (SAN), to re-examine the witness failed as such practice was not supported by law.Iziyon had, however, described the statement by prosecution witness as “ambiguous’’, adding that it required further clarification.

The presiding Judge, Justice Gabrial Kolawole, said the witness could not use an oral statement to counter a statement he deposed to on oath, adding that it was an effort in futility.

NAN reports that Ohikhuare is the 17th prosecution witness to testify in the matter, leaving one more witness before the prosecution closes its case.

Meanwhile, Okah, alleged Prison Officials had on Jan. 23 chained and stripped him naked and left him to languish.Okah informed the court about the incident through his counsel, Zibiri at the resumption of his trial.

“I received a message that on Jan. 23, the defendant was stripped naked, cuffed and chained by officials of the prison for exposing information to a radio station,” Zibiri said.

The Judge, however, said no prisons authority had the power and right to inflict corporal punishment on anyone in its custody.“This is an infraction and should I get such a report a second time, I will not take it likely,’’ he said.

When put on the spot, Mr Sanda Nanka, the most senior prisons official in court denied knowledge of the incident.Nanka said he was in charge of only matters of inmates that had to do with their coming to court.

Iziyon said the punishment meted on the defendant may not be unconnected with his regular usage of gadgets to communicate with institutions and people outside of the prison.

“There are reports how several of his conversations and emails and phone were intercepted by the prisons authority.

NAN reports that Okah is standing trial for allegedly masterminding the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja.The matter was adjourned untill Jan.31 for continuation.

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