The suspected mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bombings, Charles Okah, has sued the Government for allegedly violating the rights of inmates in Kuje Maximum Security Prison.
Mr. Okah also asked the court to compel the government to pay him N350 million damages for alleged violation of his fundamental rights. He wants conjugal visits allowed in prison.
His counsel, Timipa Okponipere, filed the case on February 15, a week before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja High Court halted his trial on health grounds.
Joined in the suit are the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Prisons Service.
Among the reliefs sought by the applicant is the declaration that the failure of the respondents to respond to the letter of a prison inmate is a breach of fundamental right.
He also sought a declaration that his detention in solitary confinement without a charge and a valid court order breached his fundamental right.
Again, Mr. Okah sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to return the intellectual property seized from him without compensation is a breach of his fundamental right.
The applicant also sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to allow for conjugal visits to the prison breached the fundamental right of both convicted and awaiting trial inmates.
He also sought a declaration that the failure of the prison authorities to allow him access the welfare office at the prison to make calls to his family abroad violates his fundamental right.
The applicant challenged the failure of the respondents to stop illicit sex trade and drug trafficking by prison warders at Kuje Prison and sought a declaration that the acts violated the rights of awaiting trial and convicted inmates at the prison.
He also challenged the selective handcuff of prison inmates based on their status, saying the act is discriminatory and a breach of the fundamental rights of inmates.
Mr. Okah, therefore, sought an order of the court to among other things:
Compel the respondents to recognise the fundamental right of awaiting trial and convicted inmates in the prison;
Compel the respondents to forthwith introduce conjugal visits in Kuje Prison as applicable in other parts of the world;
Compel the respondents to release his intellectual property which were seized by the prison authority since January 6;
Compel the respondents to ban illicit s*x trade and drug trafficking by prison warders as well as stop all discriminatory practices in the prison.
The suit was supported by a 58-point affidavit deposed by counsel to the applicant, Mr. Okponipere.
Justice Kolawole had during the resumed hearing of the bombing case on February 22, announced that Mr. Okah could not attend the session because he was undergoing surgery at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The judge, however, adjourned the case till March 10, and ordered that the suspect be brought to court on the new date.
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