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Okah Denied Bail

Posted by By Henry Ojelu on 2008/08/11 | Views: 1271 |

Okah Denied Bail

A Federal High Court in Jos, this afternoon, denied Henry Okah bail on account of national security.

A Federal High Court in Jos, this afternoon, denied Henry Okah bail on account of national security.

P.M.News learnt that when the court denied him bail, his counsel, Barrister Femi Falana, argued that if the likes of Uwazuruike, Asari Dokubo and the National Co-ordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, could be granted bail, Okah should not be an exception.

Barrister Falana also opposeed the decision of the court to go ahead with the substantive case. While fixing 19 September, 2008, for further hearing on the case, the judge said that every case will be decided on its own merit.

Okah is standing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State, on a 55-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal trading in, and possession of firearms.

He was arrested on 3 September, 2007, by the Angolan security forces and subsequently detained for 5 months before being handed over to the Nigerian government. Okah pleaded not guilty to two of the counts while the court entered a ‘not guilty’ for him in respect of counts 3-55.

His lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, immediately filed an application for his bail on the ground that his client is entitled to bail.

In his written submission today, Femi Falana urged that since the constitution presumes in favour of the liberty and innocence of his client, he (Okah) is entitled to bail notwithstanding the gravity or seriousness of the charges pending against him.

Citing several cases to buttress his points, Falana held that the Supreme Court has outlined the general criteria for granting bail to include: nature and gravity of the offence, criminal antecedents of the accused person, the probability of guilt, availability of the accused to stand trial amongst others.

He further urged that since it is the view of the Supreme Court that the most serious of the criteria is the availability of the accused, his client has undertaken to make himself available for his trial should he be granted bail.

Falana also maintained that his client has no past criminal record and no evidence is available to prove the contrary.

He said, “This Honourable court has been asked by the respondent to believe that the accused is an international terrorist, illegal firearms dealer and supplier of missiles and anticraft weapons wanted by other countries. There are no facts to back these grave allegations, neither have the countries where the accused is wanted been named. In the same vein, the police stations, military installations and other security outfits allegedly attacked by Henry Okah have not been mentioned.”

In considering the application of the accused for bail, Mr. Falana urged the court to consider that Okah has been arrested and detained since February, 2008, and that he was not brought to court within reasonable time until 48 days later, and trial has not commenced.

He concluded: “having regard to the mandatory nature of section 35(4) of the Constitution, we submit that the right of the accused to bail is unassailable. We therefore urge this honourable court to admit him to bail either conditionally or upon such terms necessary to ensure the availability of the accused at his trial.”

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.