Okah challenges State to prove its case

2010-10-14 14:47

Former Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah challenged prosecutors to prove his involvement in this month’s bombing in Nigeria.

“I deny my involvement in the attack ... the State has no case against me and their evidence is non-existent,” his lawyer Rudi Krause read from an affidavit written by Okah.

Okah said that he was in South Africa at the time of the attack in his country and was in prison when an email warning about the attacks was sent.

He also pleaded his innocence saying that his arrest and subsequent prosecution was South Africa’s attempt “to appease the Nigerian authorities”.

The father of four is accused of being the “mastermind” behind the October 1 dual attacks which resulted in the deaths of 12 people.

Okah (45), a former marine engineer, said although he sympathised with the struggle of the poor in Nigeria, he had never been involved in any violent activities.

He currently holds permanent residency in South Africa and earns a living through his security company.

His affidavit told the court of two raids at his house by the SA Police Service and the SA National Defence Force. He said these searches, one on September 13 and the other on October 2, were illegal and didn’t find any incriminating evidence.

He told the court how his family and himself were made to stand outside their house while the police seized their cellphones and computers.

He also questioned the logic behind his arrest on September 13 and his subsequent release. “If I was a dangerous terrorist why then would the police release me after their unlawful arrest?”

Okah said that he was being persecuted due to his close ties with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

He also said that people close to him in Nigeria were arrested following the bombing and later released, and further questioned why he was still being prosecuted.

His bail application continues.

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