Okah thought cops were assassins

2010-10-15 22:25

kalahari.com

  • Nigeria
    How Ethnic Rivalry and Religious Fundamentalism Threatens Africa's Most Populous Nation Was R342.95 Now R308.66
    buy now
Johannesburg - Nigerian former militant leader Henry Okah took the stand in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Friday to deny any involvement in the recent Nigerian bombings which killed 12 people.

"Not at all," Okah answered when asked if he had been involved in the October 1 attacks.

He said he had not met the other nine people who were arrested following the attacks.

Okah told the court he had the "respect" of militants in the Niger Delta region, and disputed the State's affidavit questioning the legality of his presence in South Africa.

"I travel around the world. It is strange that I was allowed to enter the country while my documents were fraudulent."

He claimed that French documents found in his possession were from the French Cultural Centre, and told the court that reading books about war and combat was his "passion".

He confirmed running from his house on the morning of September 13, when police raided it, but denied that a military uniform was found among his clothes.

"I fled my house because I believed they were assassins sent by the Nigerian government."

He said the clothes were available in ordinary clothing shops.

His recent telephone interview with television station Al Jazeera Network, which the State prosecutor on Thursday claimed was unauthorised, happened with the knowledge of prison officials, Okah said.

He had not been required to obtain prior authorisation, he said.

The State alleges Okah undermined the criminal justice system when he was interviewed by Al Jazeera while awaiting his bail application in prison.

Earlier the State argued that Okah was a dangerous man and could compromise public safety if released on bail.

"If he's released he could disturb public peace and security," State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams told the court.

Reading from an affidavit submitted by the State to oppose bail, he said Okah was still an active leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). Okah denied this.

If released Okah, with his connections and money, could "intimidate or eliminate witnesses".

"We will have to pay off many people," read an extract from Okah's diary.

The diary was included as evidence against the 45-year-old father of four and former marine engineer.

"Mobilise our men, we leave today with God on our side," Abrahams read from the diary.

Mastermind

Laughing off the evidence against him, the 45-year-old former marine engineer challenged the State to prove its case against him.

He said his prosecution was an attempt by the South African government to appease their Nigerian counterparts.

Okah also denied that his home country had granted him amnesty for his alleged involvement in other crimes.

Nigeria had released him as it had no evidence against him, he said.

Among the reasons the State would oppose bail for Okah were the fact that he was likely to endanger other people, was extremely wealthy and connected, and allegedly misrepresented his business affairs to the country's home affairs department. Okah was also a flight risk and could leave South Africa undetected.

Okah was arrested in Johannesburg a day after the attacks, after being identified as "the mastermind behind the bombings".

Mend claimed responsibility for the attacks, but denied Okah had been involved.

Okah said although he sympathised with the struggle of the poor in oil-rich Nigeria, he had never involved himself in any violence.

He faces charges of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

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

His case was postponed to Monday for the State to prepare cross-examination.

- SAPA
Read more on:    mend  |  henry okah  |  nigeria  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 18:17 PM
Road name: Wet Weather

RAIN across the Cape Town area - turn on headlights, reduce speeds and drive with care

Hout Bay 09:25 AM
Road name: Chapmans Peak Drive

WEDNESDAYS - STOP / GO controls between 10am and 3pm for Alien Vegetation Clearing - every Wednesday - weather permitting

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.