A suspect on trial for October 1, 2010 independence anniversary bomb blast, Charles Okah, was on Friday interrogated in Kuje Prison over alleged ‘strange’ phone found in his cell.
The interrogation also covered obtaining details of the discussion between Okah and a government official on June 7 at the prison yard.
The condition of Okah’s grilling was, however, described as dehumanizing as he was allegedly assaulted by a nine-member prison armed squad.
Charles is the younger brother of the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, who is also in detention in South Africa .
Charles has been on trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja with Obi Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis Osuvwo.
Francis Osuvwo died in Kuje Prison on March 2, 2012 as a result of alleged dehydration.
They are being tried by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, for alleged complicity in the two explosions which hit the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on October 1, 2010 during Nigeria ‘s 50th Independence celebration.
About 12 people died in the bomb explosions.
According to a relation of the suspect, who spoke in confidence, Charles Okah had been having it rough since Tuesday when a nine-man prison armed squad invaded his cell.
“About 9am on Friday, Charles Okah was summoned to the office of the Officer-in–Charge of Kuje Prison, DCP Sambo on the orders of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for further interrogation and trial concerning a phone found in the single block where Okah and two others are being remanded.
“The aim of the trial was to find out the content of the sheet of paper that Okah passed on to a senior government official who visited him in prison and the details of their conversation.
“DCP Galadanchi was the man who led the team that assaulted Okah. Okah’s notes and writing materials were carted away from his cell.
Another source, who spoke in confidence, gave graphic details of what transpired between Okah and the squad on Tuesday.
The source added: “On Tuesday at about 9pm, men of the Nigeria Prison Armed Squad, led by a Deputy Controller of Prisons from the prison headquarters led a nine-man team to the single cell block of the Kuje Medium Security Prison where Charles Okah and two others are being held as they await their trial.
“Only Okah’s cell was opened and he was escorted out dressed only in a pair of boxer shorts to be interviewed by the squad.
“The nine-man team, led by the Deputy Controller of the FCT command, moved Okah out his small cell clad only in his boxer shorts into the open area where he was thoroughly frisked, while the other two defendants, Edmund Ebiware and Obi Nwabueze watched helplessly from their locked cells.
“The Deputy Controller who presided over the entire proceedings watched on as Okah was interrogated and thoroughly drilled. The interrogators wanted to know what information Okah had passed on to a government official who had visited him recently in Kuje
prison, the contents of his phone and a list of all the people he had contacted with his phone.
“They also wanted to find out if he had passed on any information damaging to the image of the Nigerian Prison Service.
“A phone was retrieved from Okah’s cell but no SIM was found. Okah who had lost complete use of his right hand was brutally assaulted, bruised and battered and pinned down in a stranglehold by several men of the Nigerian Prison Service including the acting chief warder of the prison, his assistant and the orderly to the officer in charge of Kuje prison, in a bid by the men to retrieve the said SIM which they suspected was lodged in Okah’s mouth.
“Okah was later led to his cell and locked up. His notes and writing materials were carted away. He was given emergency treatment in the morning at the prison clinic.”
A top prison officer said: “It is normal to investigate breaches in any prison yard. No one assaulted Okah at all contrary to any insinuations.
“There are regulations guiding inmates in prison and it is incumbent on all those in custody to respect these rules.”