By SaharaReporters, New York
In an affidavit to be filed in a South African court, detained Mr. Henry Okah claims that in just the first few days of April 2010, after Mr. Goodluck Jonathan became Acting President of Nigeria, one Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke called him over 20 times for help to become Petroleum Minister.
In her calls, Ms. Madueke explained that she “was competing for the post of the Minister of Petroleum with the now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr, Odein Ajumogobia,” and asked for assistance “to tip the scale in her favor.”
In the 42-page affidavit, Mr. Okah claims Mrs. Madueke specifically asked him to speak to President Jonathan and “put a good word for her,” furnishing him with up to date information on the president’s availability via calls and text messages. Mr. Okah then spoke to President Jonathan in the early hours of April 5, 2010, he says in the affidavit, following which Mrs. Madueke later called to thank him for his contribution in influencing her appointment as Minister for Petroleum.
Okah says in the affidavit that he reluctantly accepted to speak to Ms. Madueke at the prompting of now presidential adviser, Mr. Oronto Douglas, who, he said, called him on April 4, 2010, saying that Ms. Diezani Allison-Madueke was desperate to speak to him. Mr. Douglas underlined Mrs. Madueke’s need of Okah’s assistance in persuading President Jonathan to appoint her Minister for Petroleum.
In March of 2010, Mr. Jonathan had sent Douglas to meet Okah in South Africa, according to the affidavit. During their meeting, which took place between March 31 and April 1, Mr. Douglas informed Okah that the Northern region of Nigeria was doing everything to prevent Jonathan from being the president.
Mr. Okah has been in a South African Prison since October 2, 2010. He is charged under the Terrorist Act’s Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Act, Act 33 of 2004. He has been denied bail by various courts in South Africa.
Okah was linked with the 2010 Independence Day bombing of the Eagle Square in Abuja. Okah is facing charges that Chima Orlu, who allegedly supervised the operation, acted under his instructions. Prosecutors allege that he was in communication via phone and SMS with Mr. Orlu and another co-perpetrator, Ben Jessy Ebere.
In Mr. Okah’s new affidavit, he affirms that on the day of the bombing, he received a call from Mr. Moses Jituboh, the Head of Personal Security to President Jonathan, who asked him to continue to cooperate with the President. As Mr. Okah asserted in 2010, following the bombing, Mr. Jituboh also asked him to shift the blame of the bombing to radical elements in the North.
Following the emergence of new facts, Mr. Okah is reapplying for bail. In his response to new information in his police docket that contains evidential material that will be used in his trial. Okah is facing trial at South Gauteng High Court that is estimated to last over 18 months.
He is pleading with the court to grant him bail because the case against him is weak and the state cannot provide evidential material to support their case.
The case will begin on October 1, 2012 by which time he would have spent 2 years in jail. The State has lined up over 50 witnesses from Nigeria to appear in court in South Africa. Okah also plans to call over 100 witnesses in his defense.