By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court will today resume trial of alleged kingpin of the Boko Haram sect, Mustapher Umar, who allegedly bombed office of the Thisday office in Kaduna State with 12 camp gas cylinders.
The High Court, presided over by Justice Ademola Adeniyi, had heard how the accused person wept bitterly when he was rescued from a badly burnt Honda car that was allegedly used for the operation, saying he had been denied the opportunity of inheriting 72 virgins in heaven.
In a bid to prove the complicity of the accused person, the Federal Government, brought a senior police officer in charge of exhibits recovered from terror suspects, to testify as the ‘PW-8′ in the trial.
The masked witness who narrated how the accused person had intended to carry out a suicide attack, produced the burnt Honda Car, discharged Cylinders, half charred 25 litter jerry-can that allegedly contained fuel, which he said were used for the terrorist attack on three media houses based in Kaduna.
Other media outlets affected by that attack on the premises of SOJ Plaza in Kaduna State on April 26, 2012, which allegedly led to the death of 10 persons, included the Moment and the Sun Newspapers.
The court had earlier watched a video clip where the accused person confessed that he was sent to bomb Thisday Newspaper owing to a report he said did not only put Islam in false light, but greatly insulted Prophet Mohammed.
The accused person, in the video which was admitted into evidence by the trial court, said his action was to avenge the insult he said was meted to “Allah” through the media house.
However, the suspect has since challenged the credibility of the video evidence, insisting that he was forced under duress to confess to the crime.
The accused person told the high court that he was badly manhandled and tortured by security operatives, even as he alleged that the video was doctored.
Consequently, counsel to the accused person, Mr Nureni Suleiman, has urged the court to discountenance the proof of evidence tendered before it by the government and order that the prosecution failed to establish a prima-facie case against his client.
According to a one-count criminal charge that was preferred against the accused person, his act of terrorism ran contrary to section 1(2) (c) (r) of Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011, punishable under section 33 (1) (a) of the same Act.
It will be recalled that the court had ab-initio barred members of the public from attending the trial, except lawyers involved in the case and journalists.