October 1, 2010 bombing: I told Sylva, Boyloaf, two others – SSS witness
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The ongoing trial of alleged masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bomb blast has assumed a fresh dimension, as a prosecution witness, yesterday, accused former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva and three other persons, of complicity.
The witness who made the allegation before a Federal High Court in Abuja, equally indicted a former Secretary to the Brass Local Government Area in Bayelsa State and member of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty, Mr Victor Ben, as well as a repentant ex-militant, Ebikabowei a.k.a Boyloaf.
He made the allegations while testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the trial of one of the alleged perpetrators of the bombing that resulted in the death of 12 persons while Nigeria celebrated its 50th Independence Day, Edmund Ebiware.
It would be recalled that Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on May 3, okayed separate trial for Ebiware, who was hitherto facing terrorism charges alongside Charles Okah who is the younger brother to the embattled ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Henry Okah, and the 3rd accused person, Obi Nwabueze.
Ebiware was specifically alleged to have exchanged incriminating text messages with the erstwhile Director-General of the Ibrahim Babamasi Babangida, IBB, Campaign Organisation and Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, prior to the twin bomb blasts at Eagle Square, in Abuja.
At his resumed trial, yesterday, the witness who was masked by the State Security Service, SSS, which simply identified him as “Mr X”, while under cross examination, alleged that he informed Sylva about plans by Henry Okah to carry out the bomb attacks.
He said he got wind of the planned attacks from his friend, one Emmanuel Allison, who was earlier declared wanted by the SSS, adding that he equally informed the accused person, Ebiware.
The witness who further told the court that he was arrested with the accused person on October 3, 2010, under questioning by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Goddy Uche, confessed that it was he and his friend, Allison, that carried out the Warri bombings.
He said they had meetings with Henry before the Independence Day bombings, saying he was exempted from trial after he volunteered to cooperate with the SSS in the course of the trial of the other accused persons who denied complicity in the crime.
He said: “I knew Edmund through Stanley Ogbakyri. I knew Okah too and we have each other’s phone number. And we do talk on phone. I knew with the looks of things Okah wanted to cause more problems after amnesty programme, because Okah felt the programme was no longer going the way it was originally designed to be.
“As at September 2010, I knew that there would be a bomb blast in Abuja. I received a phone call from Emma Harrisson that Henry Okah will bomb Abuja on October 1, 2010. I called Edmund and told him what I heard. He did not say anything.
“I reported what Harrison told me to Boyloaf and Victor Ben. I reported to Sylva, as well as Zion Amanda who was then serving as the Secretary of Brass LGA. Amanda is very close to Sylva and I knew he was also going to tell Sylva too.”
Meanwhile, the court admitted six statements attached to the proof of evidence made by the witness into evidence.
Further hearing on the matter was, yesterday, adjourned till July 19.
Charles, whose elder brother, Henry is equally facing a similar trial in South Africa, was apprehended by the SSS on allegation that he and the other accused persons, conspired with one Emmanuel Allison and made direct attempt at endangering the life of President Goodluck Jonathan by seeking to drive two motor vehicles wired with time-regulated explosive devices to the Eagle Square where the Independence celebration was taking place.
They were also said to have between January 2 and March 15, 2010, within Port-Harcourt Rivers State and diverse places, conspired with Henry Okah, Chima Orlu, (at large), and persons unknown and made direct attempt to endanger the lives of the Governor of Delta state, Edo state and Imo state by seeking to drive two motor vehicles wired with time regulated explosive devices into government house annex, Warri, Delta State, the venue of the Vanguard Post Amnesty Dialogue, where the said governors were in attendance, in order to cause a bomb blast for the purpose of levying war against the state.
The accused persons were initially arraigned before the High Court on December 7, 2010 and subsequently re-arraigned on January 12, 2011.