Nigeria’s independence day bombers get life imprisonment

Two men found guilty of masterminding the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing in Nigeria, have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Federal High Court in Abuja handed Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze the sentence for the crime committed in the Nigerian capital.

The Wednesday sentence was the culmination of an eight-year trial.

At least 12 people died in the bombing which was targeted at the Eagles Square, venue for the independence anniversary ceremonies.

The defendants

Okah’s elder brother, Henry, a former leader of a militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, had been prosecuted and convicted in South Africa for the Abuja bomb attack.

According to the court, the sentence was in line with the provisions of section 15 (1) (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, upon which they were charged.

The court had earlier dismissed the defendants’ ‘no-case’ submission, which they filed after the prosecution called 17 witnesses and tendered documentary exhibits as evidence to prove their case.

Set of offences

The court held that contrary to the contention of the defendants, the prosecution had presented a prima facie case against Okah and Nwabueze, which warranted them to offer explanations in respect of the charges preferred against them.

Okah and Nwabueze alongside Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (also known as General Gbokos) were first arraigned before the court on December 7, 2010.

Osvwo died later in detention while Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, was convicted in 2013; for the same set of offences and was currently serving a life sentence.

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