The family of Charles Okah, who is being detained in Kuje prison on charges relating to the unfortunate October 1, 2010 bombing has accused the Nigerian Prison Service, NPS, of deliberately poisoning him with the motive of turning him into an imbecile.
According to a statement titled: “Okah Family Raises Alarm Over Charles Okah’s Health” which was signed by Felix Amaebi Okah and Dadiowei Okah, the family accused the prison authorities of administering a drug known as Epilim 200 (sodium valproate or ESV), allegedly prescribed by one Professor Bwala, a consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital Abuja, which is said to be having an adverse effect on him.
The statement said that the drug was initially prescribed to treat the damage to Okah’s neurological system caused by too much exposure to high level of fumigant chemicals, which the family said had claimed the life of one of his cellmates identified as Francis Osuwo.
However, observing his negative reaction to the drug, the statement said Okah had complained to his wife Angela Uchechi during a visit and that the matter was brought to the attention of one Dr. Ajayi of the Kuje Prison Clinic, who allegedly continued to be administer the medication against his wish.
The family pointed out that the said drug which was administered daily to Okah was deliberately not reflected in the records that show his daily drug consumption.
“We suspect strongly that the Nigerian Prison service (NPS) with an antecedence for poisoning political prisoners from orders from above, have deliberately and systematically poisoned Charles Okah into becoming an imbecile,” the family alleged.
The family has therefore appealed to the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA and the Human Rights Watch to carry out an independent investigation into the matter, in order to bring all those involved to book.
Okah was arrested following the Independence Day bombing in Abuja in 2010 and has been charged to court for terrorism.
In December last year, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of an Abuja High Court ordered that a psychiatric test be conducted on Okah to ascertain if he was fit for trial or not.
The terror suspect had been brought into the court in a wheel chair and his lawyer, John Ainetor had accused prison officials of deny him adequate medical attention.