Prisons officials stripped me naked, chained me –Okah.
Detained alleged mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day twin bombings, Charles Okah, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja, how officials at Kuje Prisons stripped him naked, handcuffed and chained him on January 23, 2017.
He spoke through his counsel, Mr Samuel Zibiri (SAN), who condemned the incident.
“I received a message that, on January 23, Okah was stripped naked, cuffed and chained by officials of the prison for exposing information to a radio station,” Zibiri said.
In response to the incident, Justice Gabriel Kolawole stated that no authority in Nigeria has the power to inflict corporal punishment on anyone in its custody.
Describing the action as an infraction of Okah’s right, Justice Kolawole said: “if I get such a report a second time, I will not take it lightly.”
However, a senior prison official in court, Mr Sanda Nanka, said he was not aware of it, when confronted by the judge.
Nanka said he was in charge of only matters of inmates which had to do with the court.
When the prosecuting counsel, Mr Alex Iziyon (SAN) told the court that several conversations and emails were intercepted emanating from the defendant on telephone, the judge wondered how the defendant got hold of a telephone in prison.
Kolawole said if the defendant had access to a telephone in prison, the only explanation would be that prison officials were colluding with inmates to give them access to phones.
Earlier, Mr Humphrey Ohikhuare, a staff of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the prosecution’s 17th witness, disowned part of his witness statement on oath.
In a paragraph of the statement he had deposed to before the court, Ohikhuare said Okah sent a consignment from Lagos to Abuja.
But, while being cross-examined by Zibiri, Ohikuare said that the statement was not correct.
An attempt by Iziyon to re-examine the witness to clear what he termed an ambiguity was rejected by the judge.
Justice Kolawole said the witness could not be allowed to use an oral statement to counter a statement he deposed to on oath.
The matter was adjourned to January 31 for the prosecution to call its last witness.
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