A federal judge who on Monday struck out terrorism charges against Aminu Oguche, the suspected mastermind of the Nyanya bomb attack in Abuja, said his decision was based on lack of “diligent prosecution by the state”.
In a ruling Monday in Abuja, the judge cancelled a two-count charge instituted by the federal government over the April 2014 attack which killed more than 70 people.
Mr. Ogwuche, a suspected Boko Haram member, was accused by the Nigerian government of being behind the attack.
The blast at the Nyanya Motor Park occurred during morning peak hours as residents were hurrying to work.
The government said Mr. Ogwuche fled to Sudan after coordinating the attack.
He was later repatriated to Nigeria to face charges.
The Nigerian police had filed a two-count charge against Mr. Ogwuche, but the case could not proceed due to bickering between the police and the State Security Service, SSS.
At the resumed hearing Monday, the prosecution counsel was absent from court.
“This criminal charge is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution by the complainant, Inspector General of Police and his prosecutor,” the judge ruled.
The judge did not however order Mr. Ogwuche’s release, an indication the state could file fresh charges against him.
But Mr. Ogwuche has already challenged his continued detention, asking the court to compel the SSS to release him or charge him anew.
On Monday, the judge also granted an oral application by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, to allow Mr. Ogwuche’s family members visit him.
The judge ordered that two family members, and three attorneys from Mr. Raji’s chamber, be allowed to see the suspected bomber.
The application was not opposed by the counsels representing the SSS, Clifford Osagie, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Taiwo Abidogun.
The judge also ruled that Mr. Ogwuche be given medical care while in custody, and if need be, be referred to the National Hospital.
The application on his continued detention will be heard December 5.