Jailbreak in Abuja, but Charles Okah still in custody — Nigerian Prisons Service

Charles Okah

The suspected mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bombings, Charles Okah,did not escape from Kuje Prison in Abuja, the Nigerian Prisons Service has told PREMIUM TIMES.

“It is not true (that he escaped),” the spokesperson for the Nigerian Prisons Service, Francis Enobore, told PREMIUM TIMES, in response to reports that Mr. Okah scaled the prison’s wall and fled on Friday night.

“He is there (Kuje prison) hale and hearty. The comptroller of prisons in charge of the FCT was there less than 30 minutes ago and he saw him there. I spoke to the controller.”

Mr. Enobore however admitted that there was an “incident” at the prison on Friday night.

“Yes there was an incident yesterday, but Henry Okah was not involved,” he said. The Comptoller pf prisons has ordered an investigation and that is going on. We want to know if anybody escaped and if yes, what are their identities.”

Mr. Enobore promised to provide updates once the preliminary investigation is ready.

Mr. Okah, brother to Henry Okah, leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, has in February, sued the Nigerian government for allegedly violating the rights of inmates at the Kuje Maximum Security Prison.

Mr. Okah also asked the court to compel the government to pay him N350 million damages for alleged violation of his fundamental rights.

His counsel, Timipa Okponipere, filed the case on February 15, barely a week before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja High Court halted his trial on health grounds.

Joined in the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/118/2016, are the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Prisons Service as first and second respondents, respectively.

Among the reliefs sought by the applicant is the declaration that the failure of the respondents to respond to the letter of a prison inmate is a breach of fundamental right.

He also sought a declaration that his detention in solitary confinement without a charge and a valid court order breached his fundamental right.

Again, Mr. Okah sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to return the intellectual property seized from him without compensation is a breach of his fundamental right.

The applicant also sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to allow for conjugal visits to the prison breached the fundamental right of both convicted and awaiting trial inmates.

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