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Civil Rights Attorney, Femi Falana, request urgent medical attention for Henry Okah

June 27, 2009

Image removed.Mr. President: We are the defence counsel to Mr. Henry Okah who is currently standing trial for conspiracy, treason and treasonable felony, before the Federal High Court, holden at Jos, Plateau State.

Our attention has been drawn to the statement credited to the Honourable Minister of Interior, General Godwin Abbe to the effect that our client would not be released from custody until the Federal Government has had consultations with the Governments of Angola and Equitorial Guinea.

 In the 3-count charge filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation against our client none of the elements of the offences is alleged to have taken place in either Angola or Equitorial Guinea. In fact, our client and his business partner, Mr. Edward Atatah were detained for 5 months without trial by the Angolan Government. One would have expected the Government of Nigeria to demand for public apology and monetary compensation from the Angolan Government for the illegal detention of the two Nigerian citizens.

 Therefore, the decision to seek and obtain the fiat of the Governments of Angola and Equitorial Guinea before the President of Nigeria can exercise his prerogative of mercy under Section 175 of the Constitution in respect of our client is a grand mockery of the sovereignty of Nigeria.

 While Federal Government is engaged in consultations with Governments of Angola and Equitorial Guinea we are compelled to draw Your Excellency’s attention to the following facts:

1.    Before his illegal arrest in Angola on September 3, 2007 at the instance of the Federal Government of Nigeria Mr. Okah was undergoing treatment for a functional disorder of his kidneys at the Sojo Medical Centre at 44, Chambers Street, Booysens, Johannesburg, South Africa.

 2.    As a result of his worsening renal crisis the Sojo Medical Centre had invited Mr. Okah for further treatment at the Johannesburg Teaching Hospital, one of the University of Witwatersrand’s Teaching Hospitals. But his detention in Angola did not afford him the opportunity to undergo the recommended specialist treatment.

 3.    Upon his deportation to Nigeria and detention in dehumanizing military custody since February 14, 2008 Mr. Okah’s health crisis has been compounded. Following incessant complaints by Mr. Okah of left flank pains the Federal High Court directed the State Security Service to attend to his medical needs without any further delay.

 4.    Consequently, Dr. Nuhu K. Dakum, a Urological Surgeon of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos examined Mr. Okah and subjected him to a comprehensive specialist investigations including an intraveneous urogram, a computerized tomography and serial kidney function tests from October 3-11, 2008.

 5.    In his report dated 14th October 2008 the Urological Surgeon stated that: “The CT scan diagnosis was that of a partial obstruction of the pelviureteric junction on the left with early back pressure”.

6.    While confirming that the renal function of Mr. Okah showed “evidence of impairment” the Urological Surgeon recommended that the patient be made to undergo “a diuresis renography, preferably using technetium labeled mercaptoacetyltriglycine (TC-MAG3)”.

 7.    When our client was recently subjected to further medical examination before another Urological  Surgeon it was confirmed that his renal crisis has deteriorated. He was therefore recommended for urgent treatment abroad.

 8.    During the last hearing of our client’s case the learned trial judge was informed by the Director of Public Prosecution that arrangements had been concluded to take him to a specialist hospital abroad. Upon the request of the Government our client’s wife, Mrs Azuka Okah submitted her passport for visa to enable her to travel with him to the foreign hospital.


Since there is no hospital in the country that is equipped to carry out a diuresis renography with the use of technetium labeled mercaptoacetyltriglycine (TC MAG3) we urge Your Excellency to use your good offices to ensure that our client is taken abroad for urgent treatment of his deteriorating renal problems..


Yours sincerely,



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