One of the suspected masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja, Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo (alias General Gbokos), died in the Kuje Prison on Saturday.A statement by his lawyer in the case, Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Charles Okah & others, Mr. Festus Keyamo, alleged that Osvwo was murdered by the authorities.
Keyamo claimed that Osvwo's death
came on the heels of a series of complaints by the counsel representing him and his co-accused about the
maltreatment meted out to the accused persons in prison. "The sickness leading to the death of Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo started when their cell was fumigated with a strange substance on the January 8, 2012, which affected the healthof all the four suspects. Suffice it to reiterate that we, their solicitors raised the alarmabout that development at the time.
"Prior to his death in custody, Gbokos had been urinating and defecating on himself in the prison and despite pleas by his solicitors requesting that he be treated properly, no one attended to him.
"On February 21, 2012, Osvwo collapsed in court which stalled hearing for that day but despite the order of the court that Osvwo should be medically attended to by the prisons authorities, no medication was administered on him. It was obvious therefore that the authorities wanted him dead," Keyamo's statement read.
Comparing the plight of his clients with that of suspects linked to Boko Haram bombings, some of whom are on bail, Keyamo said it was unfair that his clients were being maltreated in prison, when they were still supposed to be presumed innocent according to the law.
"At this juncture, we are constrained to state that we find it extremely inequitable that virtually all the suspects linked to the Boko Haram bombings have been enjoying bail while our clients, the alleged masterminds of the October 1, 2010 bombings (still presumed innocent) continue to suffer indignities in custody.
"We therefore, respectfully, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the call for their bail and the Nigerian government to facilitate the release of the other suspects in custody with a view to attending to their deteriorating health before they die in custody," the lawyer said.
According to Keyamo, other accused persons in the October 1, 2010 bombing still in Kuje Prisons are facing similar conditions that claimed Osvwo's life.