Court orders psychiatrist test on Independence day bomber, Charles Okah




By Ehi Ekhator

Charles Okah
Charles Okah

ABUJA – Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Wednesday, ordered Charles Okah, who is a younger brother to ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Henry, be subjected to a psychiatric test.

The court directed that the test should be conducted with a view to ascertaining if Charles who is currently answering to a criminal allegation bothering on terrorism, is fit to stand trial.

Okah, alongside one Obi Nwabueze, are facing trial over the 2010 Independence Day twin bomb blasts at the Eagle Square, which caused the death of about 12 people, leaving several others injured.

Four people, believed to be members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) lead by Henry Okah (currently serving jail term in South Africa) were originally arraigned before the court in December 2011 over the incident.

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One of them, Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo a.k.a General Gbokos, died later, while another, Edmund Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

On Wednesday, Okah, who was brought to court on a wheel chair, could hardly move. He was wheeled into the court room by prison officials.

When the case was called, the prison officials merely pushed him to the side of the court room to enable the judge see him. His co-accused, Obi moved into the dock.

His lawyer, John Ainetor, told the court that his client’s health condition has deteriorated.

He said Okah could no longer walk, was confined to the wheel chair and “is shaking.”

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He accused the prison authorities of denying his client adequate medical attention. Ainetor told the court that his client could not stand trial in his current state because he was not fit.

Responding, lead prosecution lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN), said Okah, who is the first accused person, was pretending.

It will be recalled that one of the alleged masterminds of the bombing, Mr Osvwo Tekemfa Francis, a.k.a ‘General-Gbokos’,  died in prison while the trial was going on, even as the high court, in a separate judgment, jailed one of the accused persons, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment.

All the accused persons were said to have superintended over varying terrorist activities that hitherto took place within the oil rich Niger Delta region of the country, including the bomb explosion that rocked a post amnesty programme that was organised by Vanguard Newspaper in Warri, Delta State.

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