The absence of a counsel to defend Mohammed Asafa, an Al Qaeda suspect, on Wednesday stalled his trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Asafa was arrested in December 2006 on allegation of belonging to an international terrorist group.

The State Security Service (SSS) accused Asafa of joining the group “with a clear motive of carrying out attacks in Nigeria''.

At the resumed hearing, the accused told the court that the SSS had kept him incommunicado, saying: “My lawyer could not see me now for about seven months that I have been in the SSS custody.

“My Lord, please help me for I do not know anything. I was charged since 2006 but the prosecutor has not been able to bring forth any witness against me.

“My Lord, please tell them to take me to the prison instead, where I can see and talk to my lawyer.

“I have been kept in an underground facility for seven months now over something I do know about.’’

Mr Thompson Olatigbe, counsel to the SSS, however, said that the accused was trying to mislead the court. by mixing up the facts of his arrest and detention.

According to the prosecutor, the accused was re-arrested on Aug. 15, 2011 over allegation of mentoring some members of the Boko Haram sect at the premises of the National Mosque, Abuja.

He explained that investigation into his involvement with members of the Boko Haram was nearing completion.

“My Lord the stage is now set for a fresh charge to be brought against the accused; his being in the custody now is not connected to this particular case.''

?The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Asafa had been granted administrative bail over the Al Qaeeda case but was re-arrest in 2011.

Justice Adamu Bello adjourned the matter till April 3, for hearing. (NAN)