The Okah family of Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has expressed great concern over what it described as the continued inhuman incarceration and deteriorating man-induced mental health of their son, Charles Oyintombra Okah, popularly known as Billy Bones.
Charles is the CEO of Tombra Life Support, a medical specialty company established in 1985.
A statement by the family on Monday said before his arrest, he was a successful businessman and 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, Helen Ama Okah, of blessed memory.
The family said during an earlier visit to Kuje Prison, where he is held, by his wife, 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 one Professor Bwala, a consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital Abuja, 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 allegedly led to the subsequent death of Francis Osuwo.
The family added in the statement: “Our research however revealed that sodium valpoate 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.
“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.
“On one of such visits, Dr. Ajayi wrote down the complaints on a piece of paper but may not have deliberately documented in Charles Okah’s medical file. He advised Charles 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 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.
“The continued administration of ESV which was no longer being recorded in his daily intake chart, is confirmed by a prescription dated September 20th 2013 and signed by Dr. Ajayi and also by a clinic staff who escorted Charles Okah on his appointment with Professor Bwala on November 27th 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 out patient 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.
“We suspect strongly that the Nigerian Prison Service with an antecedence for poisoning political prisoners from orders from above, have deliberately and systematically poisoned Charles Okah into becoming an imbecile.
“Charles Okah has 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 1st 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 19th 2010 shortly after Charles Okah’s arrest that ‘our investigations have revealed that Charles Tombra Okah is Jomo Gbomo the Spokesman for Mend’.
“Finally, we urge the Nigerian Medical Association and the Human Rights Watch to carry out an independent probe on all parties involved in this shameful and diabolic plot.”