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Prison authorities say Charles Okah still abides in Kuje



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As rumours make the round across online and social media platforms that inmate Charles Okah is dead, officials of the Nigeria Prison Service Kuje have said Charles is alive.
Charles is the younger brother of Henry, the founder of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) serving a 24-year jail term in South Africa for terrorism.
““The rumour has no iota of truth and therefore should be discountenanced. We wish to categorically state and clarify that Mr. Charles Okah is not dead but alive, hale and hearty under the safe custody of the Nigerian Prison Service, Enobore Francis, a spokesperson for the service told Premium Times.
Wild speculations began Wednesdayfollowing a melodrama in Abuja High Court a day earlier when the Kuje prisoner was brought for yet another appearance in his trial over his complicity in the 2010 October 1 bombing in Abuja,
Reports had it that Charles got the judge’s permission to make an observation which turned out to be a last-minute talk as the accused made to jump out of the three-storey building after his remark.
He was said to have complained of his frustration with the endless trial, and how better it is to take his own life than go on with the five-year case that is not about to end. He concluded by singing “Abide with me”, a Christian hymn usually rendered by graveside.
Although he was held down by the security agents in the court Tuesday, Charles was, however, said to have succeeded in the suicide attempt Wednesday.
Reports quoting sources inside Kuje prison said Kuje Prison warders were seen looking gloomy Wednesday as Henry’s body was taken out of the prison clinic to a hospital outside the facility.
But Francis insisted the inmate was as sound as nails after the Tuesday court show, and that the NPS has made adequate provision, including psychiatric help, to secure Charles.
About two decades ago, Charles’ brother Henry founded the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to agitate for development of the oil-rich region, and control of its resources.
As the arrowhead of the Niger Delta unrest, MEND was sabotaging Nigeria’s economy by blowing oil pipelines, and kidnapping oil workers until 20o7 when the late President Umar Yar Adua granted them amnesty.
Henry and his group rejected the offer even when former President Goodluck Jonathan, from the region, came to power in 2010. MEND carried out the arm struggle until the October 1 bombing in Abuja, for which the group claim responsibility.
Henry and Charles were later arrested in South Africa and Nigeria respectively. The older has spent three years of his term while the younger is still on trial.