A chief magistrate’s court sitting in Abuja this morning aborted a planned secret  trial of Mr. Charles Okah and six others who were brought before it in connection  with the Independence Day bomb blasts in Abuja.

Charles Okah,the elder brother of MEND leader, Henry Okah, arraigned by the SSS.

Security operatives from the State Security Service, SSS, headquarters who brought  the accused persons to the court had planned to conduct their arraignment in secret  and chase out lawyers and journalists from the court premises before ushering in the  accused persons.

Proceedings were, however, stalled when Mrs. Oyebole Oyewumi, the presiding Chief  magistrate insisted that proceedings cannot commence without the presence of lawyers  for all the accused persons.

Mrs. Oyewumi ordered that the accused persons be allowed access to counsels oft heir  choice before their arraignment can proceed.

Counsel from the chambers of Festus Keyamo who were in court to represent the  accused persons were shut out of the proceedings.

Attempt by the legal officer of the SSS to persuade Mrs. Oyewumi to commence the  arraignment was aborted as she stood her ground that the trial of the suspected  bombers must be done in a normal court sitting where their counsel will be on hand  to represent them; in line with the laws of the country.

The security operatives thereafter requested for time to confer with their superiors  over the position of the court on the matter.

The case was subsequently adjourned till 24 November, 2010.

Two bomb explosions left 14 persons dead and many others injured during Nigeria’s  50th Independence Anniversary celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja.

While, a faction of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, claimed  responsibility for the bombings, having earlier warned it would strike, some  suspects were later arrested by security operatives.

The Director-General of the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Oorganization, Chief Raymond  Dokpesi, was also arrested, quizzed and later released; on the suspicion that a text  message linked him with one of  the suspected bombers.

Brother to ex-leader of MEND, Henry Okah, Charles Okah and other suspects were  arrested in connection with the bombings.

Meanwhile, the trial of Henry Okah for alleged gun running continued in  Johannesburg, South Africa.

The trial was not only done in the open court but widely covered by the world press  and beamed on major televisions stations of the world.

—Felix Nnamdi/ Abuja