by Chi Ibe
One of the Independence Day bomb suspects, Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo, who has been in detention at the Kuje Prison after the 1 October, 2010 bombings in Abuja died on Saturday, 3 March. Detail of the cause of death is still unknown but his lawyer, Festus Keyamo has alleged that he was murdered.
At the weekend, Keyamo released a statement on behalf of the solicitors representing some of the accused in the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Charles Okah & others’ case.
His death came on the heels of series of complaints by counsel representing him and his co-accused about the maltreatment meted out on the accused persons by the Nigerian government in custody.
Keyamo thus has called on all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the call for the Nigerian Government to facilitate the release of the other suspects in custody with a view to “attending to their deteriorating health before they die in custody” too.
According to the statement, the sickness leading to the death of Osvwo aka General Gbokos started when their cell was fumigated with a strange substance on 8 January, 2012, which affected the health of all the four suspects.
“Suffice it to reiterate that we, their solicitors raised alarm about that development at the time,” the statement read.
Keyamo also said that prior to his death in custody, Osvwo had been urinating and defecating on himself in the prison and despite pleas by his solicitors requesting that he be treated properly, no one attended to him.
Osvwo collapsed in court on 21 February and the court ordered he’d be given medical attention, Keyamo said none was given. “It was obvious therefore that the authorities wanted him dead. May we for the umpteenth time resound our alarm that other accused persons in the October 1, 2010 bombing still in Kuje Prisons are facing similar conditions that claimed the life of Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo.”
“At this juncture, we are constrained to state that we find it extremely inequitable that virtually all the suspects linked to the Boko Haram bombings have been enjoying bail while our clients, the alleged masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bombings, (still presumed innocent) continue to suffer indignities in custody.”