The planned arraignment of the alleged mastermind of the April 14, bomb blast that killed over 75 persons at a motor park in Nyanya Abuja, Aminu Ogwuche, was stalled yesterday owing to bickering between the Department of State Service, DSS, and the Nigerian Police Force, over which of them should be allowed to conduct the trial.
Sequel to a heated argument that ensued between lawyers from the two security agencies yesterday, the Judge in charge of the case, Justice Ademola Adeniyi, said he was left with no option than to adjourn the matter till November 10, to enable Federal Government to put its house in order.
It will be recalled that Federal Government had in its bid to expedite the process of extraditing the accused person from Sudan where he escaped to shortly after the terrorist attack, entered a three-count criminal charge before the High Court.
The charge which was endorsed by the Inspector General of Police, was still pending before the High Court when the accused person was successfully returned to the country with the help of the Interpol in Sudan.
Meanwhile, upon taking custody of the accused person, the DSS, promptly approached the high court for an order permitting it to retain him in detention until the conclusion of investigations into the matter.
Following the DSS application which was filed before another judge of the high court, the agency was granted 90 days to conduct and conclude its investigations.
Meantime, at yesterday’s proceeding, Police lawyer, Mr. Oloye Torugbene, urged the court to okay the accused to take his plea to the subsisting three-count charge.
His application was vehemently opposed by DSS lawyer Mr. Clifford Osagie, who drew the attention of the court to the 90 days order of the sister court, noting that the investigative period had yet to elapse.
Consequently, Osagie urged the Police to withdraw the pending charge which he said was only drafted for the purpose of securing the accused person back to the country.
“My Lord our investigation is still going on. This is a terrorism case that requires holistic a holistic investigation, before the 90 days ordered by the court elapses, we must have completed our investigation and file in our report to the Attorney General of the Federation for further directives”, Osagie submitted.
Though the DSS declined to produce Ogwuche in court yesterday, it told the court that he was safely in custody.
In a short ruling, Justice Ademola, adjourned the case and directed that the accused should be brought to court on November 10.
Ogwuche was in the charge before the court, alleged to have conspired with others (at large), to commit an act of terrorism by detonating improvised explosive devices at Nyanya Motor Park, which resulted in the death of 75 persons and injuring over a hundred other persons.
Count two of the charge reads, “That you, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, Male, and others now at large, on the 14th of April, 2014 at Nyanya, FCT, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did facilitate the activities of persons engaged in an act of terrorism; by detonating improvised explosive devices at the Nyanya motor park which resulted in the death of 75 persons and injuring over a hundred other persons.”
The alleged offences were said to be punishable under sections 1 (2) (d) and 17 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act of 2013.
Source: Vanguard News