Despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s two paragraph denial of the allegations leveled against him by Henry Okah in a sworn affidavit, the president’s role as an accomplice in the bombing of October 1, 2010 will be a major issue in the upcoming trial. According to the affidavit, several of President Jonathan’s retinue of trusted aides met secretly with Henry Okah in South Africa to discuss ways to stop a northern candidate from contesting for the Presidency under the PDP in 2011.
Amongst the president’s aides that met with Henry Okah were Mr. Oronto Douglas, Mr. Tony Uranta and Mr. Godsday Orubebe. Mr. Orubebe later sent his aide, Mr. Abraham Gillow to discuss the importation of arms into Nigeria with Henry Okah.
The 42-page affidavit shows a series of embarrassing police work submitted as evidence by the Nigerian state. The SSS claimed that the bombs were detonated by the use of cellular phones while state witnesses and Nigerian detainees claimed that a timer was used. The forensic science laboratory analysis stated that nitro-glycerine based explosive was used while state detainees said dynamite was used.
Other claims were that the bodies in photographs turned in as evidence show no trauma, indicating that the corpses were taken from a mortuary for a photo shoot. Surrounded by burnt vehicles these bodies were spotless. Pictures taken were deliberately made to be of poor quality so as to hide the identities of the bodies.
The Nigerian government could not provide receipt of four out of the six vehicles said to have been purchased for the bombings. There were misspelled name of the buyer, no purchasers’ signatures and the two receipts were printed from the same computer by two different individuals.
The corpse of one of the victims, Mr. Verty Bala, was said to have gone through a Post Morten examination that had several contradicting reports from what the medical practitioner at the National Hospital Abuja stated in his report. For example, while the medical report said that Mr. Bala’s corpse “was fresh and neatly dressed with only a 1mm puncture wound”, police report recorded cuts on the body.
There were other discrepancies. A single police man, Corporal Akor Emmanuel escorted seven victims to three different hospitals that are far apart. Corporal Emmanuel was recorded as the police man who escorted the corpse of Mr. Bala when Mr. Bala did not die on the scene. Contrary to Nigerian law which requires that forbids burial without possession of a death certificate, no death certificates were issued to any of the victims.
Mr. Okah stated that the bodies were brought from outside source and photographed at the scene of the bombing two days later.
In the case of victims of the March 15, 2010 bombing, the death certificate of one Mr. Igbe was issued eight months after his burial.
Mr. Okah swore that the bombings of 14th March and October 1, 2010 were the handwork of President Goodluck Jonathan in cohort with a faction of MEND. He stated that the ultimate goal of the October 1, 2010 bombing was “to create an anti-North sentiment nationwide in order to galvanize support from other sections of Nigeria against Northern candidates in the Presidential elections.”
Trouble started when MEND claimed responsibility for the bombing, making it difficult for the presidency to blame it on General Babangida and other Northerners. According to the affidavit, the presidency contacted Okah through Mr. Moses Jituboh to help get MEND to retract their claim of responsibility. When Okah refused to cooperate, President Goodluck Jonathan placed a call to President Jacob Zuma and requested Okah’s arrest.
Mr. Okah contended in the affidavit that the state is making, “a desperate attempt to construct its fictional case against me on its vague knowledge of my itinerary while in Nigeria, my relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan and other members of the Nigerian government.”
One of the Nigerian state star witnesses, Mr. Justin Malcolm Umejesi (aka Ben Jessy) has turned out to be feeding the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa with false information for years. Mr. Umejesi, declared wanted after the bombing, was also said to have been photographed with President Jacob Zuma.
In the affidavit, Mr. Okah is pleading with the court to grant him bail because the case against him is weak and the state cannot provide evidential material to support their case.
The case will begin on October 1, 2012, by which time he would have spent two years in jail. The State has lined up over 50 witnesses from Nigeria to appear in court in South Africa. Okah also plans to call over 100 witnesses in his defense.
SaharaReporters broke the story of Mr. Okah’s new affidavit two days ago, and immediately attracted the disguised scolding of President Jonathan. In a statement by his spokesman in which he denied Mr. Okah’s allegations, Mr. Jonathan referred to their report as “an entirely diversionary trial by the media aimed only at falsely impugning the character and integrity of the President and officials of his administration.”
He advised the Nigerian media “to respect the sanctity of the legal and judicial processes in this matter and avoid becoming willing tools in the hands of Mr. Okah and his agents.”