Independence Day Bombing Suspect Dies In Abuja Prison

March 3rd, 2012 – October 1st Bombing Suspect Dies In Abuja Prison

According to The Nation report, one of the suspects standing trial for the October 1, 2010 bomb explosions in Abuja , Francis Osuvwo, died on Friday night at Kuje Prison in Abuja of apparent dehydration.

His lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, alleged murder. He said Osuvwo died “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.”

General Gbokos, as the deceased was called by his friends, had been standing trial with three others Charles Okah, Obi Nwabueze, and Edmund Ebiware.

Charles is the younger brother of Henry Okah, leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND),who himself is facing trial in South Africa for the Independence Day bombing in Abuja.

There was also panic yesterday over Charles’ health.

Security at the prison was immediately tightened yesterday following fears of reprisals by MEND.

 A relation of Osuvwo said he died at about 9pm in the prison on Friday and his corpse has been deposited at the National Hospital in Abuja .

The source said when the suspect’s condition deteriorated over the last two weeks, some Ijaw youths and his relations responded by sending emissaries to the National Security Adviser and prominent Ijaw leaders to draw attention to his plight.

Said the source, “We sent the representation because the Prison’s Medical Director, Dr. Bello, had no idea of what was ailing the man.

His symptoms included loss of memory, hallucination, weakness, loss of the use of his limbs, scaly and whitish skin from head to toe and his anal was full of sores.

“Francis’ last days were really pathetic and shameful; he was left lying on the floor of his cell for days, immobile, stooling and peeing on himself with no medical attention from the prison doctors and nurses.

“The death of Francis Osuvwo can be attributed to negligence by the Nigerian Prison Service officials who have allowed themselves to be used as agents of persecution and the prison itself as a concentration camp where the four suspects have suffered various forms of inhuman treatment, including the fumigation of the suspects inside their cells.

“Francis reacted badly to the chemical components. Charles Okah too is in a critical state and everyone is praying that he too does not go the way of Francis Osuvwo.

“Osuvwo is survived by his wife, Philomena, a son (Kevin), and four daughters among who are Precious and Princess.”

Responding to a question, the relation said: “Please, let the world know that the late Francis Osuvwo was an innocent man but he got the maximum death punishment for a crime that he knew nothing about.

“Also state that prior to their arraignment in court, the four men did not know one another save for Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze who have been family friends for a long time.

“The first time the men accused of the October 1, 2010 bombing met was at the interrogation room of the State Security Service (SSS) headquarters, Abuja. They also met on the first day of their arraignment at the Federal High Court, Abuja on December 7, 2010.”

A prison source said government had been notified of Osuvwo’s death.

The source said: “It is true that the suspect died at the prison clinic but there was no negligence at all. We have a standard clinic at the prison and we gave the suspect the best attention.”

 Keyamo, Osuvwo’s lawyer, in a statement said : “We are solicitors representing some of the Accused Persons in FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA v. Charles Okah & others alleged of carrying out bombings during the October 1, 2010 Independence Day Celebrations in Abuja.

“On, Saturday March 3rd, 2012 one of the suspects in the case by the name, TIEMKENFA FRANCIS OSVWO (ALIAS GENERAL GBOKOS) died in the Kuje Prison.

“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.

“The sickness leading to the death of TIEMKENFA FRANCIS OSVWO (ALIAS GENERAL GBOKOS) started when their cell was fumigated with a strange substance on the 8th of 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.

Prior to his death in custody, ‘Gbokos’ 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.

“On the 21st of February, 2012 TIEMKENFA FRANCIS OSVWO (ALIAS GENERAL GBOKOS) collapsed in court which stalled hearing for that day but despite the order of the court on the day in question that TIEMKENFA FRANCIS OSVWO (ALIAS GENERAL GBOKOS) be medically attended to by the Prisons authorities, no medication was administered on him. 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.

“We therefore, respectfully, call on all well-meaning Nigerians join in the call for their bail and 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.”

The four suspects were arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja , presided over 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.