Charles Okah

Officials of Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison (now Correctional Service) on Thursday turned back a foreign delegate sent from the International Committee of Red Cross to visit Charles Okah.

Okah, who is registered with the organisation as a political Prisoner and serving life sentence at the Maiduguri prison, had in March 2019 written a three-part article titled 'Sodomy of Children in Maiduguri Prison and the ICRC Conspiracy of Silence', which was exclusively reported by SaharaReporters.

The article, which exposed the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old mentally-challenged child detainee called Goni Ali Shettima and about 105 other children, didn't go well with officials of the prison.

Before Okahs incidence, the ICRC had a mandate to visit and follow up with political prisoners and detainees to ascertain their wellbeing and had been doing so unhindered.

The prison officials do not want Okah to further reveal their illegal activities.

Fearing that Okah would reveal to the visiting Red Cross team the extortion of Boko Haram detainees by the Chief Warder, Adamu Potiskum, who rents to them the few government-provided beds on a rotational basis, the ICRC were then refused access to Okah which is against international best practices and a gross breach of his fundamental human rights.

The ICRC may have made a formal complaint in Abuja against the Maiduguri Prison which led to a meeting at the office of the Controller, Borno State Command, a source told SaharaReporters.

It was learnt that Okah had wanted to seek the intervention of the ICRC in prevailing on the Federal Government of Nigeria through its Attorney-General of the Federation to impress on the Court of Appeal, Abuja, to grant him a hearing date for his appeal application filled since 2018.

Okah's deteriorating health and the refusal of the Court of Appeal, who had asked Okah's lawyers for a bribe of N300,000 before a date can be arranged, is a source of grave concern to the ICRC.

A date for the suit with the appeal number CA/A/494c/2018 between Okah (appellant) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria (respondent) was initially given but was adjourned indefinitely under the excuse that the Court of Appeal was overwhelmed with election petition cases.