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Henry Okah Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison over the 2010 Independence Day Bombing



A South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has sentenced the convicted Nigerian terrorist and leader of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) Henry Okah to 24 years in prison.

This is coming after he was convicted on 13 counts related to terrorism for masterminding the  October 1, 2010 twin bomb blasts that killed 12 people Abuja. The blast also injured 36 others.

Eye Witness News, a South African portal reports that he was sentenced to 12 years for each for the two car bombs set off. Judge Neels Classen said the state had proven Okah’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt adding that Nigerian national’s failure to testify meant the evidence against him remained uncontested.

On January 21, the court found Okah guilty on 13 counts of terrorism, including engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activities, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device.

He was also sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for the threats made to the South African government after his arrest in October 2010. The 13 years would run concurrently with the 24 years.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. JADE

    March 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Please explain to me why a Nigerian who committed acts of terrorism in Nigeria is being tried and sentenced for those same acts in South africa?

    • OK

      March 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      My thoughts too *confused face

    • tbn

      March 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Terrorism is seen as an international crime and could be tried by a country where the perpetrator/accused is found. E.g. of other crimes that are recognised as such are genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc…

  2. dee

    March 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    one down, more to go.

  3. Jenny Craig

    March 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I’m sorry please why was he charged in South Africa and not Nigeria? I said I’m sorry o. Please don’t insult me.

    • lakelizzy

      March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      my thought exactly…. anyone pls clarify.

    • nnenne

      March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      i’m curious to know too. what’s the rationale behind it? if you know, be kind enough to explain to us. we learn everyday right?

    • Grace

      March 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      I have no idea too,buh i am thinking its bcos he lived there and some implicating items where found in his house or some cant really remember. Hoping we get more lights on why he was sentenced in SA.

  4. zzzzz

    March 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Na i’m good for am. Considering the people that died he deserves more. Only wish our judicial system was this efficient

  5. Peachy_mo

    March 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    lol! see humility o! before them tear you to pieces chai! bella Naija posters, I hail thee. I THINK because he is internationally wanted so can be charged in any country where he is arrested (abeg I said I THINK O!). I see a plot here though; 5yrs later, he’ll be transported to Nigeria to serve his remaining jail term and viola….poof! PRESIDENTIAL PARDON!

    Bella Naija, please edit this your copy and paste so all the fonts in the write up can align na haba!

  6. Obi

    March 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I too have the same questions. Why not in Nigeria? The conviction I mean. Or was SA acting as a regional arm of the Hague? An international terrorism tribunal? We need more answers please. Though his sentence may have been just, I fail to understand the process.

  7. azuka

    March 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    he was tried in south africa cos it is alleged that he commisioned the crime to be carried out from his south african base

  8. kd

    March 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Well if Nigerian govt cannnot perform its duties, then i guess other countries have to take matters into their own hands

  9. Jd

    March 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    He is based in SA . And let’s be glad that he got convicted there becos if na for Nija, he’d be a free man despite his crimes

  10. Tosin

    March 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    very nice


    March 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    What of Boko Haram…are they scared to arrest n try them too or maybe their god fathers r in government…Easter is around…celebrate Jesus, He is alive you know.

  12. mulikat

    March 27, 2013 at 7:04 am

    If in Niaja they will free him, just look hwo many Boko Harms cut and no conviction up till date..

  13. pynk

    March 27, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Lawyers biko come and explain

  14. rita

    March 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

    He ran to south africa n commited an offense, was held there . though Nigeria Govt needed him but south Africa refused them.

  15. eggyposh

    March 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Abeg nexttt! I strongly believe this man is innocent of this particular crime and there is more to this story but then the powers that be have spoken… Let me not talk more than myself o…that is why I prefer to stick with the fashion new. 🙂

  16. inefficient judicial system

    March 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    the crimes he committed were in Nigeria. I think the proper thing would have been to extradite him here to face the music. but seeing as we have different shades of kangaroo courts here in naija,it’s all good.

  17. wande

    March 27, 2013 at 11:31 am

    The South African court had the jurisdiction to try him under the International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Act,and also tbecause that was his place of residence at the time of his arrest.Irrespective of this,it’s a well known fact that an accused person should be properly provided with the facilities for his defence! why weren’t his witnesses allowed to go to South Africa to testify?? I suspect foul play…

  18. Joe

    March 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

    What is all the noise about the sentense. We can withdraw our charges at the appeal or apply for extradiction and grant him amnesty before he arrives. It is a matter of people talk to people.

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