BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA — Alleged mastermind of the Christmas Day bomb blast that killed about 44 persons and wounded 75 others at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church at Madalla, Niger State, in 2011, Kabiru Umar, a.k.a Kabiru Sokoto, Thursrday, begged a Federal High Court in Abuja to release him on bail pending the determination of the charge against him.
Sokoto made the plea on a day he accused authorities of the Kuje Prison where he was remanded on April 19, by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, of denying him access to his lawyer.
The accused person, who is answering to a two-count terrorism charge that was preferred against him by the Federal Government, told the court that he was kept incommunicado at the prison, a situation, he said, has hampered his ability to package his defence.
Consequently, Justice Ademola, yesterday, ordered his immediate transfer to the custody of the Department of State Security, DSS, pending hearing on his bail application which was fixed for May 6.
It will be recalled that though the alleged kingpin of the Boko Haram Islamic sect was initially docked before the high court on May 20, he could not take his plea on that day owing to his inability to secure a lawyer to stand in his defence.
However, on April 19, he pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as the lawyer he eventually contracted, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim, urged the court to grant him bail, a request that was refused by the trial judge who ordered him to file a formal application.