Mustapha: I Bombed THISDAY In Revenge

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, (THEWILL) – The suspect charged with bombing the SOJ Plaza in Kaduna occupied by THISDAY, The Moment and The Sun newspapers, Umar Mustapha, Tuesday, told police investigators that he carried out the bombing while on a revenge mission.

The suspect, apparently unrepentant, also threatened the first witness with death for having the audacity to testify against him at the resumed hearing in the trial.

The prosecution had called two witnesses, Tuesday, who were police officials who wore mask to conceal their identity, in view of the court's decision to protect their identity.

The first of the witnesses, a female police officer, said she served at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Kaduna during the incident.

Giving her evidence, she said as the Investigating Police Officer(IPO), who took the statement of the accused person, Mustapha confessed to have committed the act.

"My Lord, the accused person told me in Hausa that he attempted to blow up the entire THISDAY Newspaper office as a revenge mission," she said.

She disclosed that the accused person told her that he took the explosive to the where the newspapers' offices were located because he wanted to take a revenge against THISDAY.

But as the prosecution attempted to tender the statement in evidence, counsel to the accused, Suleiman Nureni, objected , saying the accused, who spoke in Hausa, denied making the statement.

Nureni told the court that his client said he was unconscious through out his stay in the Police Clinic where he was said to have made the statement. He therefore urged the court not to admit it.

However Justice Adeniyi, in a bench ruling, admitted the statement on the ground that it was relevant to the case.

The second prosecution witness, a male Chief Superintendent of Police, said he also served at the State Criminal Investigation Department at the time of the incident.

He told the court how he, with the aid of some escorts, conveyed the suspect to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squard (SARS), Abuja.

Also at the resumed trial, prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the accused person made pronouncement of death on the life of the first prosecution witness during proceedings on Monday.

"Many have heard the accused persons said in Hausa language that the witness shall be killed for testifying against him.

"My Lord, I thought you heard him because it was not long that you directed that the witnesses be made not to enter the court through the axis where the accused was docked," he said.

Counsel to the accused, Nureni, however interjected and denied that such a threat ever came from his client.

But when asked, the Hausa interpreter in the case, (name with held), confirmed the threat.

The interpreter said the accused person wished death for the first witness for lying against him while giving evidence.

The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, consequently warned the suspect to desist from further verbal threat in the court.

Mustapha is standing trial on a one count charge under the Terrorist Prevention Act 2011 slammed on him by the Police.

"The allegation of threat to the life of a witness made by the accused person is taken seriously.

"I believed the accused person has said those things but I want to warn you to desist from that because a threat on witnesses is a threat against all of us and against the court.

"It is therefore incumbent on the defendant counsel, Mr Suleiman Nureni, and his team to ensure that the accused person is well behaved.

"There shall be no repeat of such thing as it will not be tolerated," the presiding judge said.

The star witness in the secret trial wore a mask as he identified the accused person as the man who bombed THISDAY Newspapers House on April 26, 2012 in Kaduna.

He said the accused person implanted 12 camp gas cylinders as improvised bombs connected with wires to the steering of the car he (Mustapha) used for the operation.

Another prosecution witness who testified explained that the police authority directed him to transfer the accused person to the headquarters of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja.

"I was ordered by my superior officer to convey the accused person in Police Clinic ambulance with full security escort which I led to Abuja on April 26 by 11:30 pm.

"I was told that he was a suspect rescued from the scene of bomb blast at Kontagora Road, Kaduna earlier in the day," he said.

After taking all the prosecution witnesses, the court adjourned till May 14 and 30 while June 4 and 5 were fixed for the accused person to open his defence.