Nigeria government has filed nine counts of treason and terrorism charges against Charles Okah, Henry Okah and two others in relation to the twin car bombings on Oct. 1 that killed 12 people in Abuja.
The four suspects all pleaded not guilty at a federal high court in Abuja and Judge Gabriel Kolawole fixed a bail hearing for Dec. 15.
The four were charged at an Abuja magistrate court on Nov. 25 for the blasts near a venue where President Goodluck Jonathan was attending a celebration of Nigeria’s 50th year independence. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, the main armed group fighting in the southern oil region, claimed responsibility for the explosions.
MEND wants states in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta region to keep all revenue earned from crude sales and to only pay taxes to the federal government.
Attacks by MEND and other armed groups cut more than 28 percent of the country’s oil output between 2006 and 2009, according to Bloomberg data. While the attacks decreased after thousands of fighters accepted a government amnesty last year, MEND refused to disarm, saying its demands weren’t met.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and the fifth- biggest source of U.S. oil imports