By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief, Ben Agande & Lawani Mikairu
ABUJA—NINETEEN days after the October 1 twin bomb blasts in Abuja that nearly marred the nation’s Golden Independence Anniversary, the Federal Government said, yesterday, it was now set to prosecute Charles Okah, the younger brother of South Africa based alleged militant leader, Henry Okah and four others.
The ex-militant leader is already facing trial in South Africa over the bomb attack.
This is just as Henry Okah’s wife accused the South African police of using excessive force when they raided the family’s house.
Spokesperson of the State Security Service, SSS, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, who briefed newsmen in Abuja on efforts to bring the bombers to justice said: “Five suspects will be charged to court because it has been confirmed that they have direct link to the bombings of October 1, 2010”.
She also said that the Managing Director of Daar Communications and Director_General of the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who was invited to the SSS office after the blasts was not quizzed in connection with the bomb attack.
She said: “Please like I have said, the service will not want the issue pertaining to the blasts to be politicized. When we briefed you the other time, you had asked us to name the suspects and those connected to them. And the only person mentioned then was Henry Okah because it was established that he was behind the bombings.
“If the managing director of Daar Communication said he was invited, it was not to my knowledge that he was invited in connection with the blasts. The SSS is a public service and people can come in here at will and go out at will. The service has never given out any name of any suspect. The only suspect we have mentioned so far are Henry Okah and Charkes Tombra Okah.”
The SSS image maker said that hard evidence had been established against five of those in custody and that they would soon be charged to court.
She turned down all questions on the identity of those in custody except Mr. Charles Tombra Okah whose identity was already public knowledge, stressing that several people had been questioned and released since the blasts without giving details.
While noting that the organization was economical with information on the issue since investigations were still on_going and that it did not want to say anything that could compromise the national security, Ogar said: “Several Nigerians have been invited, the service will not be pushed to publish the names of those who have been invited except it has been confirmed that they have direct dealings with the incidents under investigation.
“The Service will only let you know the issues that will not undermine national security. And for that reason, you will excuse me, I will not answer this question. Like I told you, those that have been found to be directly connected to the incident will be charged to court shortly.”
She urged journalists in particular and all Nigerians at large to assist in the on_going investigation, as according to her making Nigeria safe cannot be the responsibility of only security agencies.
Below is the full address read by Mrs. Ogar before the question and answer session: “At the last press briefing the Service promised to update the media and the Nigerian public on the progress with on-going investigations into the October 1 bombings. We wish to inform you that the following has been established:
“The person that drove and coordinated the vehicles brought into Abuja for the bombings. The one who directly coordinated the bombings with Henry Okah. The individual at whose residence in Port Harcourt the vehicles were wired for detonation and from where they took off for Abuja; and the one that confirmed to his accomplice that he had completed the job, immediately after the bombings.
Consequently, Charles Tombra Okah, one of the known users of the name, ‘Jomo Gbomo’ and four other suspects would be charged to court accordingly. Meanwhile, the Service wishes to draw attention of the public to the fact that during the course of investigation, several Nigerians were interviewed and released. We plead with Nigerians to desist from politicizing the issue, as such tendencies remain a serious concern to the SSS because they promote insecurity and hinder the rapid development this country direly needs.
However, we wish to reassure the public that we will not be deterred in our investigations while urging everyone to be more security conscious about our respective environments and also collaborate with security agencies in safeguarding our national interests.
Okah’s wife says police used excessive force
Meanwhile, Henry Okah’s wife, Azuka, accused police of searching her Johannesburg home without a warrant when they raided the house to look for evidence linking her husband, Henry Okah, to the twin car bombs in Abuja on October 1.
Okah said she and her family woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of breaking glasses and said she feared someone had come to kill her husband.
She said that after entering the house, police pointed guns at her children and stole some of the family’s belongings, adding: “It’s been very traumatic to the family. We’re just barely recovering from the way they came into the house.
My kids are still trying to pick up the pieces from that. I thought it was someone who was coming to assassinate my husband.”
Henry Okah, himself will return to the Johannesburg court today which will determine whether to grant him bail.
Prosecutors say Henry Okah, 45, is the leader of the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, and gave the order to detonate the bombs that rocked celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from Britain.
Terrorism can’t shut down the country—Senate
Meanwhile, the Senate has said that the country cannot be shut down because of the fear of terrorist attacks. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Information, Senator Ayogu Eze, said while reacting to the closure of all roads leading to the three arms zone by security agencies on Friday last week and Monday this week.
The action of the security agencies was in response to the threat by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta that more bombs would be detonated in Abuja very soon.
While the closure of all the roads leading to the three arms zone on Friday was to allow the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan host her Women for Change Programme, that of Monday was to allow President Goodluck Jonathan commission combat helicopters of the Nigeria Police Force at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The closure of the roads brought untold hardship as workers of the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the federal secretariat and other offices had difficult time getting onto their offices.
Senator Ayogu said he was not sure the National Assembly was notified of the closure by the executive arm of government, adding: “But I think that this is one of the problems we are confronting as an emerging democracy because ordinarily, one would expect that before that kind of action is taken, all branches are taken on board because it is a three arm government it is not one arm government.
“We will not shut down Nigeria because of terrorists. I think that the President has assured us that they will work speedily to ensure that life gets back to normalcy.”