Press Statement By Festus Keyamo On The Conviction Of Henry Okah In South Africa

By Festus Keyamo

The decision of the South African Court that convicted Henry Okah this morning of charges relating to terrorism is politically motivated and legally incorrect.

As counsel to Charles Okah and others who are facing the same set of charges under Nigerian Laws, I have been actively involved in coordinating the trials both in South Africa and in Nigeria.

The fundamental flaw in the trial is that Henry Okah was not given adequate facilities and the opportunity to defend himself. This is because after the prosecution closed its case in South Africa, the defence attorneys and my Chambers here in Abuja tried frantically to summon the witnesses of Henry Okah who are based here in Nigeria to testify on his behalf. These witnesses include some government officials.

In this regard, we wrote to the Attorney General of the Federation who replied and directed that Henry’s counsel in South Africa apply to the court there for an order to secure the legal assistance of the Attorney-General of Nigeria. This was only two weeks ago (please, find attached a copy of the letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation to my office and note that the date on the letter was mistakenly given as 8th January, 2012 instead of 2013.)

Without giving Henry’s counsel in South Africa adequate time and facilities to follow the directives, the South African court foreclosed his opportunity to call witnesses and rushed to convict him. This is a breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing and an obvious attempt by the South African authorities to please Nigeria at all cost. That is why the judgment is nothing but political.

Whilst all Nigerians empathise with those who lost their lives and limbs in the October 1, 2010 bombing, it is wrong to convict anybody for it without due process. Henry has been convicted without due process.

I condemn this judgment and call on Nigerians and the international community to condemn the trial and judgment of Henry Okah whose only offence was his refusal to accept the so-called amnesty offered by the Yar’Adua-Jonathan administration and his insistence on the Niger-Delta controlling its resources.
With the recent condemnation of Jonathan by some militants who initially accepted the amnesty programme, I am sure they now know that Henry Okah was correct not to have accepted the poisoned chalice called amnesty.

The Nigerian government must immediately use all diplomatic efforts to ensure that Henry Okah does not die in a South African prison and for the South African government to grant him unconditional pardon. This is without prejudice to his right to appeal against the judgment.

Thank you.

Festus Keyamo, Esq.

16 comment(s)
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why are you so ignorant

people lost their lives thats bad enough but jailing an innocent man that's worse. David, can u prove beyond all reasonable doubt the Henry was involved in the bombing? if u cant dont tro stones cos it might just be u God will punish in the long run. Jonathan like all Ogbia men has failed we people of the Niger delta, If this oil was in the west or North would u say this? i blame our ancestors for not allowing us belong to biafra cos we would have been better of without yoruba's and northerners


The people aiding and abetting corruption in Nigeria are lawyers.
Keyamo let the next terrorist attack wipe out your whole family . Say Amen to this prayer since you are supporting a killer to go scot free because you want to make money . I used to hold you in high esteem but from now you are worth one kobo in my eyes and I can say that you've been a pretender and attention seeker all these years .
Nigerians And the masses have known the real Keyamo now .
Shame Shame shame !.

Nigerian Govt should do no such thing!

RE: "The Nigerian government must immediately use all diplomatic efforts to ensure that Henry Okah does not die in a South African prison and for the South African government to grant him unconditional pardon".

Nigerian government must ignore such rascal advice and invitation to lawlessness. Okah was responsible for the death of many. He doesn't deserve to walk a free man ever again. A competent court (of a more advanced country than Nigeria) has given judgement. Everybody must respect and obey its judgement. Ask Mandela, people do not die in SA prisons. Okah is a common criminal and not a 'crusader'.

Shame the AGF had to LECTURE Keyamo about processes!

Keyamo - S/Africa is not like Nigeria!

Trust these mercenary Lawyers to create a storm in a cup, whenever cases go against them or their scheming. Their planned delay tactics did not work this time. Maybe because this was a foreign country, and the Judiciary is a no-nonsense one and one not cut out for the usual antics that one experiences in Nigeria. If this trial was in Nigeria, one can see how Keyamo and his likes would have used several delay tactics to delay the trial.

How can anyone claim that Okah did not have a fair hearing, even though his trial commenced over 1 year ago, and he had ample opportunities to subpoena Nigerian officials to testify at his trial? Besides, the case against Okah was based on EVIDENCE/DOCUMENTS FOUND ON HIM AND IN HIS HOME. He didn't need Govt officials to contest that HARD EVIDENCE!

Okah is a despicable character!

All those that supported, laundered, aided and abetted this serial criminal, who should have been locked up for good when he was first arrested and charged in 2008, should hide their heads in shame. It was a mistake to have released this gunrunning criminal and terrorist, first arrested in 2008. Those that were responsible for his release back then should also hide their heads, and should feel guilty and complicit for the carnage of the Oct 1st bombing in Abuja. Several people died from that gruesome incident. Thank God that JUSTICE has finally come against the mastermind.

While his supporters, aids, image launderers and 'abetters' should hide in shame. This group includes mercenary Lawyers like Keyamo, Falana, and a 'whitewash journalist' or image launderer, Sabella Abidde. Okah is despicable and deserves life!

re - keyamo

Keyamo,what legacy are u living for children,u are notting but a dissappointment.

Haba Keyamo!

Does Festus Keyamo think that Nigerians are fools? Gone are the days Mr Keyamo!

Keyamo shld stop deceiving

Keyamo shld stop deceiving nigerians or does he think we don't know his atrosities he committed in NNPC, Lagos. Useless lawyer of d millenium

Due process my foot

Do MEND/BH follow due process in detonating their bombs and terrorizing Nigerians?
It took Keyamo current counsel and previous counsel Femi Falana SAN 2 yrs to summon the witnesses of Henry Okah who are based here in Nigeria to testify on his behalf. Delay tactics/plea bargain don't work in South African Judiciary because they are serious minded institution headed by disciplined and not greedy and publicity seeking lawyers like ours.

Keyamo and co, please go and rest and next time advise your numerous criminally minded clients to always remain in Nigeria where they can buy favorable judgement

So the all -knowing Keyamo

So the all -knowing Keyamo did not know the proper procdure to follow?


The only question that comes to mind is why does it take Keyamo over 2years to apply for this so-called "legal assistance of the Attorney-General of Nigeria", since the bombing occured in 2010? Delay tactics? Which eventually backfired on his client.

Haba, Keyamo! Is There No Appellate Court in South Africa?

I deeply sympathize with Henry Okah and I have fears for Naija about the possible consequences of this verdict. It is still too early in the day to say how the Niger Delta will react. In the meantime, I expected Keyamo to at least mention what legal options are open to Okah in his quest for justice. I am sure there is an appellate court in SA wheer Keyamo can challenege the verdict and denial of fair hearing is a strong ground for such appeal. That's what I expect Keyamo to do rather than political jingoism. As a lawyer you should handle the legal aspects and leave the political/coercive response to MEND and other militants of the Niger Delta. I am sure they are equal to the task the Nigerian State cannot continue with its robbery of the Niger Delta.


I believe the judgment would have been regarded as sound if it were in favour of Henry Okah

He who eats from both sides

He who eats from both sides lacks credibility.

Can He be Right @Keyamo

Truely, if wat Keyamo has presented is right then the Nigerian government and her people should come together & restrain d S/African government from Henry's prosecution.
I want the Foreign Affairs Ministry to also make statement instead of pretending to be in the dark.

Bra please cool down your

Bra please cool down your temper,are you saying is not belong to MEND?

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