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Anxiety Over Charles Okah’s Health, As Family Cries Out

Ayo Balogun, Abuja

Anxiety has mounted over the health of Niger Delta warlord, Charles Okah who is currently in jail as his family has cried over his deteriorating health problem.

Charles Okah

Charles Okah

Okah was fingered in the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja, Nigeria, which led to the death of some Nigerians and has since been at the Kuje Prison.

A statement from his family signed by Felix Okah and Dadiowei Okah said the family expressed great concern over the continued inhuman incarceration and deteriorating man-induced mental health of their son, Charles Okah

The statement said before Okah’s arrest, he was a successful businessman/philanthropist in mental and physical top shape even after a donor Nephrectomy (donation of his left kidney) made 31 years earlier to his late Mother, Mrs Helen Ama Okah of Blessed Memory.

“During an earlier visit to Kuje Prison made by his wife, Mrs Angela Uchechi Okah, Charles Okah had informed her of his adverse reaction to a certain medication being forcefully administered on him by the Kuje Prisons Clinic despite his complaints.

“The drug, known as Epilim 200 (sodium valproate or ESV) was prescribed by Professor Bwala, a consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital Abuja (NHA) to treat the damage to Charles Okah’s Neurological system caused by exposure to high level of fumigant chemicals, when Charles Okah and his cell mates were locked up inside the cell that was being fumigated and which led to the subsequent death of Francis Osuwo.

“Our research, however, revealed that sodium valpoate (ESV) which was administered in 200mg dosage thrice daily to him, is a medication primarily for Epilepsy. Charles Okah is not epileptic nor is there a family history of Epilepsy,” they said.

According to the family, “a fellow inmate in a single cell block where Charles okah has been languishing in solitary confinement for 3 years, confirmed that he had complained to one Dr. Ajayi of the Kuje Prison Clinic severally concerning the serious side effects the drug was having on him; listing some of them as hallucinations, memory loss, severe headaches, confusion and bed wetting.”

The statement said on one of such visits, Dr. Ajayi wrote down the complaints on a piece of paper but might not have deliberately documented it in Charles Okah’s medical file, saying that he advised Okah to take Tylenol brought by his wife to counter the headache and promised to report the development to professor Bwala.

“But on a subsequent visit after a long period, Dr. Ajayi confessed he had not yet informed the Neurologist but had discussed the matter with Professor Bwala’s senior Registrar who, according to Dr. Ajayi was ignorant of any side effects of ESV.

“The side effects raised by Charles Okah is clearly stated by the manufacturers of the drug for which intake ought to have been discontinued, instead this systematic poisoning of his mind was allowed to continue unabated for a cruelly long period of time.

“A source working in the Kuje Prison Clinic( KPC) leaked out the information that curiously, they were instructed at a point to stop recording Charles Okah’s daily intake of ESV even though the medication was still being administered to him, but could record the other medication such as Amlodopine 10 mg administered for controlling his blood pressure whose brand recommended by the NHA was substituted,” they alleged.

The family cried out that the continued administration of ESV which was no longer being recorded in his daily intake chart, was confirmed by a prescription dated September 20, 2013 and signed by Dr. Ajayi and also by a clinic staff who escorted Okah on his appointment with Professor Bwala on November 27, 2013 and who told professor Bwala in the presence of four other physicians , prison and state security operatives when asked, confirmed “that indeed Charles Okah was still on ESV thereby contradicting their drug intake chart.

“From all indications, and that outpatient appointment, professor Bwala may not have been informed of Charles Okah’s reaction to the ESV. But noticed his abnormal behaviour thereby recommending a psychiatric evaluation and ordering the discontinuation of ESV with immediate effect after the visible harm had been done. We give the NHA where Charles Okah’s company established their first Haemodialysis center in 2000 the benefit of the doubt for now, we are hesitant to conclude that they were part of a diabolical conspiracy.”

The family said they suspected strongly that the Nigerian Prison service (NPS) with antecedence for poisoning political prisoners from orders from above, had deliberately and systematically poisoned Okah into becoming an imbecile.

The statement added that Okah had always been desirous of having an impartial trial conducted to clear his good name and was confident that unless influenced, he would be vindicated, discharged and acquitted of the trumped up charges relating to the unfortunate October 1, 2010 bomb attack.

“He also wanted a forum to dispel the lies told by the SSS spokeswoman, Ms Marilyn Ogar who announced on National Television on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 shortly after Charles Okah’s arrest that “our investigations have revealed that Charles Tombra Okah is Jomo Gbomo the Spokesman for Mend.”

“We urge the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Human Rights Watch to carry out an independent probe on all parties involved in this shameful and diabolic plot,” the family pleaded.


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