Posted by News Express | 15 July 2013 | 3,843 times
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) today described the acquittal of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to the late head of State, General Sani Abacha, over the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, the slain wife of the winner of the June 12 1993 election, Chief MKO Abiola, as yet another indictment on the capacity of the Nigerian judiciary to avail Nigerians of justice. It further described the acquittal as a shame and follows a pattern that has never punished high net-worth offenders for crimes they committed either against the state or fellow Nigerians.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Joe Igbokwe, the party said that given the weighty evidence that had been proffered against Al Mustapha, including confessions of Sergeant Rogers and Maj. Muhammed Abdul – the men that allegedly pulled the trigger on Mrs. Abiola – and Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, dismissing the case for lack of evidence seems to be a way of ensuring that Al-Mustapha escapes justice for the acts of crime he committed and not in any way a means of helping the soiled image of the Nigerian judiciary. The party asked the Lagos State government to go on and appeal the judgment, as it believes that there are weighty evidences that link Mustapha to the murder of Alhaja Abiola.
According to Lagos ACN: “We are still in shock over the acquittal of Al-Mustapha, given all the evidences that had so far been proffered against him and his co accused. Even when we had not seen any iron cast defence put up by Mustapha, except throwing about raw tissues of illogical blackmail that refused to sink with Nigerians who knew all that happened during the Abacha reign of fear, we are left to wonder how the appeal court arrived at its judgment. We are aware of the huge cache of evidence marshaled by the prosecution and we are aware that these are incontrovertible evidences against Mustapha, contrary to the ruling of the Appeal Court, which chose to hide under the well abused lingo of Nigerians judges that ‘the prosecution had not proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts’. We see this as a convenient alibi for a pliable judiciary such as ours, without the healthy interface of a jury, to pervert justice and ensure that criminals are not punished for their crimes in Nigeria.
“Lagos ACN notes that the acquittal is coming few days after the popular internet news site, Saharareporters.com, had done a detailed report of an extensive plan to free Mustapha and ensure he is not punished for the assassination of Kudirat Abiola. We see this acquittal as a shame on the entire country and particularly a shame on the judiciary, which seems not to be in a hurry to clear its name of the sordid history of filth, which had prevented it from being an independent and incorruptible dispenser of justice to all Nigerians. If the judiciary continues to operate at the behest of the highest bidder, we see no hope for the country.
“We believe that the judiciary, by this questionable verdict, is hoping to consign the killing of Kudirat Abiola to the long list of unsolved assassination cases that hunt the country today. We recall the murder of Bola Ige where the alleged killers were helped to evade justice and even rewarded with political offices. We recall the murder of Marshal Harry, A.K. Dikkibo, Hassan Olajokun, Ogbonnaya Uche, Funsho Williams, Dr. Daramola, among the uncountable cases of murderous impunity that have been interred in the thriving list of Nigerian judicial ‘whodunnit’. We see the verdict of the Court of Appeal acquitting Al Mustapha as an attempt to enrich the country’s bloating list of unsolved murder and assassination cases and we warn that this will come up to hunt all of us in the future.
“Lagos ACN is not satisfied with the quality of verdicts that our courts churn out as there is a general impression among Nigerians that the courts are there for only the rich to manipulate. We therefore believe that a thorough jury system will help enrich the verdict of our courts.
“While we align ourselves with the opinions of millions of Nigerians who have called on the Lagos State government to not only appeal the latest verdict but diligently pursue the course of justice for the slain Kudirat Abiola, we state that the country is sitting on a keg of gun powder if Nigerians; high and low, could be killed at wills and their killings shoved under the carpet.”
•Photo shows Lagos State ACN Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe.
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