A chief magistrateâ€™s court sitting in Abuja this morning aborted a planned secretÂ trial of Mr. Charles Okah and six others who were brought before it in connectionÂ with the Independence Day bomb blasts in Abuja.
Security operatives from the State Security Service, SSS, headquarters who broughtÂ the accused persons to the court had planned to conduct their arraignment in secretÂ and chase out lawyers and journalists from the court premises before ushering in theÂ accused persons.
Proceedings were, however, stalled when Mrs. Oyebole Oyewumi, the presiding ChiefÂ magistrate insisted that proceedings cannot commence without the presence of lawyersÂ for all the accused persons.
Mrs. Oyewumi ordered that the accused persons be allowed access to counsels oft heirÂ choice before their arraignment can proceed.
Counsel from the chambers of Festus Keyamo who were in court to represent theÂ accused persons were shut out of the proceedings.
Attempt by the legal officer of the SSS to persuade Mrs. Oyewumi to commence theÂ arraignment was aborted as she stood her ground that the trial of the suspectedÂ bombers must be done in a normal court sitting where their counsel will be on handÂ to represent them; in line with the laws of the country.
The security operatives thereafter requested for time to confer with their superiorsÂ 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 Nigeriaâ€™sÂ 50th Independence Anniversary celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja.
While, a faction of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, claimedÂ responsibility for the bombings, having earlier warned it would strike, someÂ suspects were later arrested by security operatives.
The Director-General of the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Oorganization, Chief RaymondÂ Dokpesi, was also arrested, quizzed and later released; on the suspicion that a textÂ message linked him with one ofÂ the suspected bombers.
Brother to ex-leader of MEND, Henry Okah, Charles Okah and other suspects wereÂ arrested in connection with the bombings.
Meanwhile, the trial of Henry Okah for alleged gun running continued inÂ Johannesburg, South Africa.
The trial was not only done in the open court but widely covered by the world pressÂ and beamed on major televisions stations of the world.
â€”Felix Nnamdi/ Abuja