Controversy over death of bomb blast suspect in prison

FILE PHOTO: Scene of a bombing in Abuja that left several people dead and others wounded

A suspect in the October 1, 2010 bombing in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has died at the Kuje prison, where he was detained, his lawyer said Saturday.

Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo (alias General Gbokos) died Saturday, Festus Keyamo, the counsel to Charles Okah and the others being tried for the bombing, said in a statement.

Mr. Keyamo said the suspect’s death, “came on the heels of series of complaints by counsel representing him and his co-accused about the maltreatment meted out on the accused persons by the Nigerian Government.”

The sickness leading to the death of Mr. Osvwo, his lawyer said, started when “their cell was fumigated with a strange substance on the 8th of January, 2012, which affected the health of all the four suspects.

“Suffice it to reiterate that we, their solicitors raised alarm about that development at the time.

Mr. Keyamo said, “prior to his death in custody, ‘Gbokos’ had been urinating and defecating on himself in the prison and despite pleas by his solicitors requesting that he be treated properly, no one attended to him.”

The lawyer said, “On the 21st of February, 2012 Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo collapsed in court, which stalled hearing for that day but despite the order of the court on the day in question that he be medically attended to by the prison authorities, no medication was administered on him.

“It was obvious therefore that the authorities wanted him dead.”

Mr. Keyamo said the other accused persons in in the case still in Kuje Prisons were facing similar conditions that claimed the life of Mr. Osvwo.

The lawyer added, “At this juncture, we are constrained to state that we find it extremely inequitable that virtually all the suspects linked to the Boko Haram bombings have been enjoying bail while our clients, the alleged masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bombings, (still presumed innocent) continue to suffer indignities in custody.

“We therefore respectfully, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the call for their bail and the Nigerian Government to facilitate the release of the other suspects in custody with a view to attending to their deteriorating health before they die in custody.”

The government and authorities of the Nigeria Prison Service are yet to respond to Mr. Keyamo’s allegations.

 

 


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