by Isi Esene
The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) yesterday responded to allegation of sodomy leveled against its officials by Festus Keyamo, counsel to Charles Okah, who is being held in Kuje Prisons.
Okah, the brother of the jailed leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, was said to have been a victim of attempted sodomy according to his lawyer.
Keyamo’s firm recently petitioned the leadership of NPS that some prison officials were trying to sodomise Okah.
It set up a panel, headed by the Controller of Prison of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Prison Command.
The prisons authority described the allegation as unfounded saying Charles Okah had vowed to embarrass the service by peddling rumours and spreading false allegations.
Read the statement as released by the NPS spokesman, Ope Fatinikun, below:
“Preliminary investigations revealed that there was nothing suggesting or pointing to an act of sodomy on Charles Okah by any officer of the prisons, as alleged.”
The statement explained that there was a routine search of the prisons by eight officers, headed by the Chief Warder of the prisons.
The statement added: “The Controller-General of Prisons, on receipt of a petition from Festus Keyamo’s chambers, on behalf of Mr Charles Okah, an inmate in Kuje Prisons, constituted an investigation panel headed by the Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, to look into the matter. While the NPS will not want to join issues with Keyamo’s chambers on the pages of newspapers, it is pertinent that the records be set straight.
“Preliminary investigations showed that there was nothing that suggested or pointed to an act of sodomy on Okah by any officer of the prisons, as alleged. Rather, there was a routine search of the prisons by eight officers, headed by the Chief Warder of the prisons. During the search, Okah, as usual, refused to be searched. But when he eventually subjected himself to the search, an MTN SIM card was found on him (in his pants), a Nokia C2 phone and a memory card were also discovered in an electric bulb fitting located on top of the concrete ceiling of his cell. Okah has constantly exhibited bad conducts in his cell, which is unacceptable to the management.
“Instances abound where he had bridged electrical wires in his cell, thereby throwing the whole prisons into darkness. To discourage the smuggling of handsets and other prohibited articles, searches have been beefed up throughout prisons formation.
“It should be noted that searches on visitors, workers and inmates have been heightened in the prisons, besides the Controller-General’s Task Force, which has been set up to carry out this function.
“Upon the realisation by him (Okah) that his antics had been punctured, he vowed to embarrass the service by peddling rumours and spreading false allegations.
“Interestingly, similar allegations had been made against the prisons, including Okah’s allegation of the extra-judicial killing of Francis Osuwo (aka Gboko), as a result of fumigation in their cell. The fumigation was at the request of the inmates (Okah, Osuwo and others) and they were evacuated before the exercise.
“All of these are obvious efforts to intimidate the prisons, draw unnecessary attention and subvert the rules and regulations of the prisons.
“The NPS is not unmindful of this diversionary tactics, which are calculated by Okah and his cohorts to draw unnecessary sympathy from the unsuspecting public.
“In view of the above, the Controller-General of Prisons, Mr Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim (MFR, mni), will not be deterred from carrying out his statutory function as provided for in CAP 366, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.”