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I Don’t Believe in Death Penalty – Hafsat Abiola



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By Abdulkadir Badsha Mukhtar and Kehinde Akinyemi,  1 February 2012


Abeokuta — Daughter of the late Kudirat Abiola, wife of the late presidential candidate Moshood Abiola who was killed in 1996, Mrs Hafsat Abiola-Costello said she doesn’t believe in death penalty.

Hafsat, who spoke to the BBC Hausa service monitored yesterday in Abuja, was reacting to the Lagos High Court death sentences passed on Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security officer of the late Head of State Sani Abacha and personal assistant to Kudirat, Lateef Shofolahan over the murder of Kudirat.

Hafsat said even though the judgements were in favour of the Abiola family, she preferred disciplinary punishment.

“I do not believe in death penalty. At the same time, I am in a country where the state uses power and in some cases abuses power and nothing ever happened. So, I wanted them to be punished not hanged to death.

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“I feel very relieved that court has sentenced the two people that involved into the assassination of my mum to death, because we waited close to 16years. Though our mum will never come back to life but those who killed her could not go freely without any judgment,” she said.

When asked for her comment, Hajiya Hafsat, wife of Al-Mustapha, said, “We leave everything to Almighty Allah. There is no justice in this judgment, he was arrested along with others but he is the longest serving in prison without trial.”

Kudirat was shot to death about 8.a.m in Lagos on 4 June 1996, while she was on her way to Lagos. Justice Mojisola Dada handed out the verdict, after more than 7 hours of reading the verdict.

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But reacting to the verdict in a telephone interview with news men in Abeokuta, on Monday, Hafsat said that the judgment might be slow but, it was not denied, asserting, “it was a victory for Nigerians.”

“My mother can have relief. I want to say that we are grateful to the judiciary for the judgment. Though we can say it is delayed, but, it is never denied. I am relieved myself, because we almost lost faith in the judiciary, but, today we have a victory for Nigerians,” she said.

Abiola-Costello who was barely 21 when the incident occurred described her Late mother’s Personal Assistant, Shofolohan as an opportunist who came into the family under the pretext of giving her mother political support, but went extreme.

Source: Daily Trust

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