The prosecution yesterday opened its case before a Federal High Court in Abuja, in the trial of the alleged mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bombings, Charles Okah, and his co-accused, Obi Nwabueze.
Led by Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, the prosecution called its first witness, Mr. John Afolabi, who is an exhibit keeper at the Department of State Service, DSS and through whom 13 exhibits were tendered and admitted by the court.
The witness said during his evidence-in-chief that the items were retrieved by DSS investigators at “scenes of investigation” into the incident.
The first exhibit admitted by the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, was a list of items which Afolabi said were retrieved during the investigation conducted into the bombing by the DSS.
Other exhibits were the 13 items contained in the list.
The list comprised an old Mazda 626 car with registration number LAGOS BY 318 FKJ, military uniforms and camping materials.
The other exhibits are 10 camouflage bulletproof jackets; 30 black military belts; 21 black jungle booths; five green pairs of camouflage jungle booths; five pairs of brown camouflage jungle booths and 34 pairs of water bottle hostlers.
The other items admitted as exhibits are 10 camouflage vests; one big camp tent; one small camp tent; 34 green water bottles; 24 multi-colour water bottles; and assorted camp stands and hooks.
Justice Kolawole had to move the proceedings out of the courtroom to the car park for inspection and the tendering of the car exhibit.
The car, which was in a bad state with all its four tyres torn and already revealing their internal strings, was towed to the car park from the DSS national headquarters in Abuja before the proceedings began.
Virtually all the exhibits were admitted with initial objection by one or sometimes both of the defence lawyers who appeared for the accused.
Okah and Nwabueze were represented by separate lawyers, Mr. Samuel Zibiri and O.O. Otemu, respectively.
Both accused were always being represented by Mr. Festus Keyamo before they dispensed with his services in October 2014.
The commencement of the trial yesterday came as a major breakthrough in the matter which had not made any progress due to a series of interlocutory applications filed by the accused since the terrorism charges were instituted in December 2010.
Justice Kolawole adjourned further proceedings till Monday.
‎Two other accused were initially charged along with Okah and Nwabueze. One of them who chose to have his case tried separately, was decided on January 2, 2013, while the other person died in custody.
Okah, a brother to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Henry Okah, is being tried alongside Nwabueze for the bomb attack near the Eagle Square in Abuja.
Henry has been convicted and serving jail terms in South Africa for the attack in which about 12 persons died.

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