United Nations Headquarters in Abuja

Justice Gladys Olotu of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday ordered four suspected members of the Boko Haram sect who allegedly bombed the United Nations Headquarters on August 20,2011, to file their defense within the next 21 days.

The four suspects, Salisu Mohammed, Inusa Mukailu, Danzumi Haruna and Abdulsalami Adamu, it was revealed, perfected the terrorist act which killed 23 persons and wounded 75 others.

Those affected by the explosion include, a retired Navy Captain, members of staff of the UN, visitors as well as workers with private businesses stationed within the building.

The accused persons, currently facing a four-count terrorism charge, were said to have been arrested in
September 2012 and charged before an Abuja Magistrate court before being re-arraigned at the High Court on May 7, this year.

The Federal Government told the court, that the actions of the accused persons were contrary to Section 96(a) of the Penal Code Law. Besides, the accused persons were alleged to have deliberately and maliciously committed the act which seriously damaged an international organization, contrary to the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, who okayed the suspects for trial, insisted that they were involved in the release of dangerous substances that caused explosion that killed 23 people at the UN building, contrary to the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.

The accused persons however have since pleaded not guilty to the charge.

However, since their trial commenced, the accused persons had maintained that they could not understand English Language, a situation that led the court to procure the services of an interpreter, charged with the responsibility of translating the court proceedings to them in Hausa language.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Olotu, gave the government the nod to close its case, just as she ordered the accused persons, to file their defence within 21 days.

The court took a swipe on the federal government’s action of producing only one witness, Mr. Ibrahim Agu, as the PW-1, against the accused persons despite the gravity of the alleged offence.

The court had earlier on June 11, directed the prosecution to provide its proof of evidence linking the accused persons to the alleged terrorist act.

Counsel to the accused persons, Mr Ken Obiduruzo, meanwhile expressed his intention to file a no-case-application, saying that the government had woefully failed to either establish a prima facie terrorism case against the suspects, or, provide any convincing evidence linking them to the UN house bombing.

Following request by the defence counsel for a short date to puncture the case of the government against the accused person, Justice Olotu, also gave the prosecution, 21 days to respond to whatever argument the suspects may adduce, just as he further gave the accused persons another seven days to reply on points of law and adjourned the matter to January 22, 2014, for all the parties to appear before the court to adopt their written arguments, before the judgement on the matter.

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