Five men were yesterday arraigned before an Abuja Federal High Court for the October 2 bomb explosions in Nyanya and Kuje. One of them, Abdulwaheed Nasir (23) pleaded guilty to being in possession of 12 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other materials used for making the bomb.
Nasiru was arraigned with Abdulazeez Muhazab (26), Ishiaka Salihu (25), Mohammed Jimoh (33) and Abdullahi Nasiru (34). The others pleaded not guilty to the five-counts charge against them.
Nasiru, who spoke in pidgin English when the charge was read to him, pleaded guilty to the fourth count, which relates to being in possession of 12 IEDs and materials used for manufacturing them.
The charge was interpreted, many times to Nasiru and the fifth accused person, Abdullahi, in pidgin English.
Nasiru pleaded not guilty to the first three counts of conspiracy and the carrying out of the bombings, but when the fourth count was interpreted to him, he pleaded guilty but said the items found on him belonged to his friend.
“I’m guilty, but no be me get am, na my friend get am,” Nasiru said in pidgin English.
Following his guilty plea, his lawyer, Nurein Sulyman, rose and sought the court’s permission to speak with his client. He approached the dock (where Nasiru stood with others) and asked him if he truly understood what he said.
Nasiru maintained that he was guilty of the charge of the possession of the IEDs and the other materials.
The five men were accused of conspiring to bomb Kuje town and Jikoyi park in Nyanya on October 2. Their action, it was alleged, resulted in “the death of scores of innocent citizens; the injury of many others and the destruction of properties, “ contrary to Sections 17 and 2(a) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013”.
It was alleged, in the fifth count, that between August and October, Jimoh and Salihu aided Muhazab (first respondent) “to store and conceal” the items suspected to be used for manufacturing of IEDs, an act punishable under Section 2(g) of the law.
All the accused persons are said to hail from Kogi State. They were said to have been arrested with already-made 12 IEDs and other materials used for manufacturing the explosives in Unguwar Ebira, Karamajiji area, behind the Military Cemetery on Airport Road in Abuja on October 6.
The materials they were allegedly arrested with included 27 pieces of detonators, aluminium powder, hexomine, hydrogen peroxide, sulphur powder, sodium azide plus nitrate, iron II oxide, soldiering wire, sugar, pH litmus paper, sodium carbonate and thermometer.
Others are chlorate, filter paper, strings, potassium chlorate, 12 ready-made IEDs and a full bag of fertiliser.
Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation Mohammed Diri said he would be leading evidence to prove the guilt of all the accused persons, including Nasiru with regard to the charge he confessed to.
The defence counsel, Sulyman, said after the proceedings that he was yet to have access to his cleints.
He said by the nature of the charges against his clients, Nasiru was still at liberty to change his plea to not guilty if he wished to do so before judgment.
“Pleading guilty is actually not a big deal. This is a capital offence, he is at liberty to change his plea to not guilty if he wishes,” Sulyman said.
Justice Abdulkadir Abdul Kafarati ordered that the accused persons be moved from police custody to Kuje prison. He adjourned to November 17.