Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Suspected ThisDay Bomber Pleads Not Guilty

Photo: Daily Trust
Explosions at ThisDay offices in Abuja and Kaduna

A man accused of participating in last April's bombing of a building occupied by ThisDay, The Moment and The Sun newspapers in Kaduna yesterday pleaded not guilty.

Mustapha Umar was arraigned on one count charge of terrorist before an Abuja Federal High Court.

He is alleged to have driven a white Honda Academy car with registration number AL 306 MKA with improvised explosives devices into the premises of SOJ plaza and detonated same.

His counsel, F.I Umahi, applied to the court to make an order allowing him and one member of the accused person's family access to his client who is being remanded in Kuje Prison.

Umahi, who told the court that his efforts to see the accused person was refused by prison authorities, said his ability to represent and defend his client will be affected if he has no access to him. Prosecuting counsel Shuaibu Labaran said though he is not opposed to Umahi's application, it will be best for the court to use its discretion to decide whether or not to allow the accused person access to a family member considering the nature of the charge against him.

He suggested that the prison service be left to decide whether or not to allow the accused person access to a family member since they have regulations for such situations.

Labaran also applied orally that the public be excluded from the proceedings but Justice Adeniyi Ademola said he should apply formally.

Adjourning till March 12 for trial, Justice Ademola ordered that the prison service should allow the accused person access to his counsel or Mohammed Umar, who appeared alongside Umahi.

The court also ordered prosecutor to serve the proof of evidence, witness list, summary of case and charge on defense counsel within two weeks.

Defense counsel has also been given two weeks upon service to file his summary of evidence and witness list.

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