BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—THE Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, gave the Federal Government 24 hours to respond to an allegation that a medication called Epilim Sodium Valproate, ESV, which is meant for epilepsy, was forcefully administered on the alleged mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bomb blast, Charles Okah.
Trial Justice, Gabriel Kolawole, made the order shortly after the accused person, through his lawyer, Mr. John Anietor, begged the court to allow an independent private medical practitioner to produce a medical/scientific report on the side effect of the drug on him.
The lawyer said: “There is need for the first accused person, Charles Tombra Okah, to be examined by an independent private medical practitioner, for an impartial and neutral confirmation of the medical reports from both the Kuje Prisons Clinic and National Hospital, Abuja, to ascertain his mental and physical health status.
“A medication called Epilim Sodium Valproate, ESV, meant for epilepsy, was prescribed and administered on the first accused person over a long period of time, which now has adverse negative side effects on him.
“There is need to settle the issues relating to the health of the accused person before his trial, as good health is part of the facility he needs to be able to stand his trial.”
Okah, who is facing terrorism charge alongside one Obi Nwabueze, urged the court to discountenance the outcome of the psychiatric evaluation that was conducted on him by the Federal Government, saying he was not fit to stand trial.
Meantime, the government in the evaluation report it tendered yesterday, maintained that although the psychiatric analysis it conducted on Okah indicated that he suffered persistent delusional disorder and occasional fluctuation in his level of consciousness, the accused person was duly certified fit for trial.
Consequently, the court yesterday adjourned the matter to May 16, to take arguments on Okah’s request to be assessed by an independent medical practitioner.
The court had on December 4, 2013, ordered that a psychiatric test be conducted on the accused person, following his deteriorating health and seeming unbalanced mental state.
In a bid to prove that Charles, who is a younger brother to ex leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Mr. Henry Okah, was medically fit to face his trial, government, on January 15, tendered the first medical report which was rejected by the accused person.
It will be recalled that one of the alleged masterminds of the bomb blast which resulted in the death of 12 persons at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Mr. Osvwo Tekemfa Francis, a.k.a ‘General Gbokos,’ died in prison custody, even as the high court in a separate judgment, jailed the third accused person, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment.