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Independence Day Bomb Blasts Suspect, Charles Okah, On ‘Hunger Strike’



One of the suspects in the 2010 Independence Day bomb blasts in Abuja, Charles Okah, has embarked on a hunger strike to protest alleged harassment by officials of the Kuje Prison.
Apart from embarking on hunger strike, Mr. Okah, who has been in Kuje Prison since 2010, has threatened to file a suit demanding N5 billion damages from the Federal Government.
The threat is contained in a letter written by his counsel, Timi Okponipere, dated January 21, and addressed to the Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazau.
The legal practitioner alleged that the officer in charge of the Kuje Prison, Musa Tanko, has persistently harassed and intimidated his client.
“At the time of writing this letter, our client is as emaciated as a bean pole on account of the hunger strike he has embarked upon, to draw global attention to his plight,” the lawyer wrote.
“Literarily and figuratively speaking, our client is virtually a dead man. If our client dies in prison custody, the entire world, particularly the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta where our client hails from, shall rise in unison against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, even as we concede the fact that, our client’s ordeal began during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow Ijaw.”
Mr. Okponipere said some prison officials on January 6, at about 7am, gained entry into Mr. Okah’s cell and carted away his books, journals and manuscripts.
He said the invasion of his client’s cell was based on the orders of the head of the Kuje Prison, Musa Tanko.
According to him, one of the seized manuscripts contained his prison memoirs, consisting of writings, drawings and sketches of his prison journey.
However, he said another manuscript titled “Research Study: Security Lapses and Vice in Kuje Prison,” carried detailed report exposing security lapses, illicit sex, indiscipline, corruption and other vices thriving such as prison warders’ involvement in drug trafficking.
“Our client was to submit the report to the honourable minister of interior, the national security adviser, NSA, as well as the director general of the State Security Service, SSS, before the unfortunate incident occurred,” the lawyer wrote.
“Specifically, on January 10, when the honourable minister of interior visited the prison, in company of the director general, State Security Service, SSS, our client approached the minister and conveyed his intention to forward a draft copy of the research study to his (minister) office for necessary action.
“Secondly Sir, following our client’s bold initiative to approach the minister of interior during his visit to the prison, our client has been kept in solitary confinement within the Prison Service since January 10, 2016 by Mr. Tanko and his officers, ostensibly as a punitive, vindictive and malicious measure, to force our client to back down from his avowed determination to expose the ongoing rot in the prison.”

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