The weakness of Nigeria, the strength of other nations: Henry Okay, the sacrificial lamb that may never see the light again.

Filed under: National Issues |

Henry Okah

“I have come to the conclusion that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused.” The above quote is that of Judge Nels Claassen, the South African judge who handed down the verdict that saw Henry Okah of Nigeria, a sovereign nation, to 24 years imprisonment in South Africa.

For the purpose of those who don’t know who Henry Okah is, let me give you a hint. Well, the ruling class see him as the guerrilla leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), who was responsible for the numerous attacks on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Ultimately, they see him as the man behind the 2010 Nigeria’s Independent Day attacks that killed 12 people according to report.

My goal is not to debate Okah’s innocence or guilt, neither i am writing to establish points as to why the government had to do what they did prior to Henry Okay fleeing the nation, but to exercise my personal opinion on how unpalatable it is to the ears for the Nigerian government, our government, to seat back, relaxed while European countries, lately South Africa, a fellow African country, one whom we contributed immensely to their sovereignty, arresting, charging and sending Nigerians to prison for crimes they allegedly committed in Nigeria. It brings me to the question, where is our sovereignty as an independent nation if other countries can unlawfully arrest, charge and sentence our people to prison, even without our consent?

I see Okah’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment as an underground plot by some highly placed Nigerians, together with foreign nationals, mostly the ones who constantly drills oil from the Niger Delta. What has Okah been fighting for? He has been in the fore-front of the battle for injustice so that his people, the Niger Deltans whom those oil companies have rubbished and polluted their lands, waters and other natural resources, will have rights to their lands, their waters as well as other valuables.

Last night i listened to the interview of two legal practitioners on Chennels Television, the interviewers were not asking the right questions, the legal luminaries were not making the right points, and the stage was more arranged and controlled rather than ironed out, it was a total disaster. There only strong point as i understood was that Henry Okah instead of devising means of defending himself, depended on the testimony of others, this statement of theirs came after they acknowledged that South Africa has a judiciary that works. None of them cared to go out of their given points to answered the question whether or not its right for a country to arrest citizen of another sovereign country for an offense he presumably committed in his own country?

The leadership style in Nigeria today puts us all in a very tight spot, every country no matter how small, wants to seat on top of Nigeria and call themselves tall. If the current status quo don’t change in this country, some day, a foreign nation will come to arrest our president and nothing will be done about it. A stitch in time, saves nine!