S Africa's top court upholds Nigerian oil militant conviction

2018-02-24 12:56


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - South Africa's top court on Friday reinstated a 24 year prison sentence for a Nigerian oil militant convicted of a series of terror attacks in his home country eight years ago.

Henry Okah was jailed in 2013 for masterminding a number of attacks, including twin bombings which killed 12 people in the Nigerian capital Abuja during independence day celebrations in 2010.

Okah's appeal was first heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2014, which overturned four of his 13 terror convictions and reduced his sentence to 20 years, but the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg overruled the decision.

"The appeal against his entire conviction... is dismissed," the Constitutional Court said in its ruling.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

"The convictions overturned in the Supreme Court of Appeal must be reinstated together with the sentences the High Court imposed."

Okah had repeatedly denied any involvement in the blasts.

Lawyers for Okah, who has been a permanent resident of South Africa since 2007, had argued it was outside the country's legal jurisdiction to put him on trial.

"He was not extradited to Nigeria because, had he stood trial there, he would have faced the death penalty," said the Constitutional Court in its judgement.

Okah, who was also convicted over two other explosions in 2010 in the southern Nigerian city of Warri, a hub of the oil-rich delta region, was the presumed leader of the Nigerian militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

MEND said it was fighting for a fair share of oil revenue for residents of the Niger Delta.

The group has seen spin-offs by radicals who want independence for the region.

A high court in the Nigerian capital Abuja is expected to hand down a ruling on March 7 in the trial of Okah's brother Charles for his alleged involvement in the 2010 independence day bombings.

Read more on:    south africa  |  nigeria  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.