Bode George’s Life In Prison -

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chief Bode George
  • Sleeps On Double-bunk Bed
  • Shares Same Bathroom

 FORMER chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Bode George, who was jailed during the week, is fast adjusting to life in prison.

Impeccable sources close to the Maximum Prison, Lagos, told Saturday Tribune that the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had started to observe various rules in the prison.

The source said since since he was brought to the prison, he had been allocated to a room where he now sleeps on a double-bunk bed with a fan. The source, however, refused to disclose the room number for “security reasons.”

According to our source, Chief George now takes his bath everyday in one of the bathrooms in the cell which he shares with the Chief Security Officer to a former Head of State, Major Hamza al-Mustapha.

It was gathered that though he was in high spirit following daily visits by members of the PDP, he developed high-blood pressure the day after he was brought to the prison.

He was said to have had a history of diabetes and the source said he came to the prison with his medication.

The source said the high-blood pressure had continued to be monitored by prison officials.

It was learnt that officials of the prison granted him the privilege of eating foods brought to him by his family members based on his status, as the source said in a normal situation, he was not allowed to eat any food except one provided by the prison.

Saturday Tribune also gathered that the decision of some leaders of thought and chieftains of the PDP in the South West to have virtually turned the prison yard into a political arena since Tuesday had made officials of the prison to do extra works.

Another top prison source who craved anonymity said that except the embattled PDP chieftain asked his people to reduce their visits to the prison, he and the others might be moved out of Lagos.

Some employees of the NPA were alleged to take delight in the current travails of Chief George.

Aside from the allegations that he misappropriated the funds of the Federal Government parastatal during his tenure as the chairman of the board of directors, he was said to be responsible for the termination of the appointments of about 10,000 workers of the organisation.

Another source who begged not to be named stated that some NPA employees and stakeholders had expressed displeasure at the guilty verdicts handed Alhaji Aminu Dabo and one Mr. Abidoye, other members of the board.

Meanwhile, insider sources within the Lagos State chapter of the PDP have said that nobody knew the roles of the immediate past president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in Chief George’s travails.

The sources disclosed, however, that some powerful delegates, who were mainly mutual friends of Chief Obasanjo and Chief George, had been dispatched to the latter’s farm at Ota, Ogun State, to plead with him on the possibilities of using his connections in the corridors of power.

The sources said it was yet unclear if the embattled PDP chieftain from Lagos State is also in good terms with Chief Tony Anenih, a former Minister of Works, who is said to be equally close to the former president during his eight-year tenure.

Meanwhile, prison sources have denied that the authorities were planning to allocate prison uniforms to Chief George and the others.

The denial came on the heels of a newspaper publications during the week that the politician and his “co-travellers” would soon be given prison uniforms and numbers.

In a related development, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Friday fixed Monday, November 9, for the hearing of the bail application filed by counsel for Chief George and the others convicted along with him.

The convicts had filed a joint application, dated October 28, 2009.

The six counsels, led by Chief Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN) and Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), who defended the case, claimed that the respondent, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had been served with the application.

Counsel for EFCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo, admitted before the court that he had received the application, but claimed that it was at different times and with different affidavits by each counsel.

Consequently, Keyamo demanded for three days each to respond to the six applications, but was overruled by the court.

Giving a reason for his request, Keyamo said that he got George’s applications on Wednesday and the last filing on Thursday night and had to request for time to respond.

While Chief Ayanlaja appealed for leniency in the matter, Adesina said it was possible for Keyamo to operate on Saturday and Sunday to respond to all the applications.

Considering the stand of all parties involved and other challenges, Justice Oyewole urged all the parties to exchange all necessary documents within a week.

The court ruled that hearing of the application would commence on Monday, November 9.

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