Independence Day Bombing: Court Rejects Okah’s Request for Private Medical Examination

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A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ruled that Mr. Charles Okah charged with planting the bombs that exploded in Abuja on Independence Day on October 1, 2010 which left several people dead and others injured is medically fit to stand trial.

The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, also rejected the application by Okah’s lawyer,  Mr. John Ainetor, requesting the court to order that Okah be examined by a private medical practitioner to ascertain his state of health to enable the court determine whether he was fit enough to stand trial.

The judge said the request was an abuse of court process because the lawyer was in court when the decision to allow the National Hospital examine him was taken.
A medical report from the National Hospital had confirmed that Okah was medically fit to stand trial.

Justice Kolawole said: “The request for a private medical evaluation of the accused person is an abuse of court process. Its aim is to ensure that the trial does not proceed.
“There is no merit in the applicant’s motion on notice, and it is hereby dismissed”, the judge held and fixed trial of the accused persons for July 8 and 9, and October 7, 8 and 15, 2014.

The judge then ordered that the accused person be remanded in Kuje Prisons, Abuja and be produced in court at the next adjourned date.

Okah, in his application dated January 13, this year had asked the court to allow an independent medical practitioner to conduct a fresh test on him, arguing that the earlier one by the National Hospital was bias.

But the prosecution counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), in opposing the application, described it as an abuse of court process and a further ploy to delay the matter, which had yet to make any progress since 2010 when it was instituted.

Charles Okah, a brother to former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, is being tried alongside Obi Nwabueze for the October 1, 2010 multiple bombings near the Eagle Square in Abuja, which caused the death of about 12 people.

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