Following controversy trailing the release from detention as a result of the Appeal Court, Lagos Division’s verdict which discharged and acquitted erstwhile Chief Security Officer to late Head of State General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha over the gruesome murder of the Wife of the indisputable winner of the June 12th 1993 Presidential Polls [Chief MKO Abiola] Alhaja [Mrs.] Kudirat Abiola, a call has gone to the National Judicial Council [NJC] headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice [Mrs.] Maryam Alloma Mukhtar to probe the conduct of the team of prosecutors from the Lagos state judiciary that handled the proceedings.
The Rights group said the investigation should determine whether the Prosecution team compromised the trial of the duo of Major Al-Mustapha and an aide to the late MKO Abiola; Mr. Lateef Sofolayan which may have resulted in the eventual alleged miscarriage of justice by the Appellate Court in Lagos just as the group canvassed public hearing of the probe by the National Judicial Council because of the sensitivity of the matter and because of overriding public interest in the matter which touches the constitutional bedrock of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. “It is the belief of the Rights group that Government and the hierarchy of the nation’s judiciary cannot afford to overlook the groundswell of allegations of professional misconduct against the prosecution team in the trial of the just released erstwhile Chief Security Officer to the late military ruler-Major Al-Mustapha”, HURIWA stressed.
Besides, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has urged the Lagos state judiciary to consider the overall public interest before deciding expeditiously whether or not it will institute an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the Appellate Court which freed the former Security Aide to the late dictator General Sani Abacha; Major Hamza Al-Mustapha. HURIWA said in the event that the Lagos state government determines that it was not in the public interest to so appeal the decision of the Appellate Court which last weekend freed Major Al-Mustapha then the state government in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria must work out and implement transparent civil financial compensation package to be paid to the direct and immediate family members and next -of- kin of the late Mrs. Kudirat Abiola and the late Chief MKO Abiola who are considered national martyrs of democracy.
The Rights platform also urged different interest groups and Northern state Governments to respect the departed souls of MKO Abiola and Mrs. Kudirat Abiola by moderating and also avoiding the sensational celebration of the Court- sanctioned release of the former Chief Security Officer to General Abacha- Major Al-Mustapha, because according to HURIWA, ‘it is a sacred fact’ that these two martyrs of democracy were brutally killed-the wife through suspected state-sponsored assassination by an alleged hit squad and Chief Abiola was allegedly poisoned to his death in what is seen as an international conspiracy to silence the agitation for the actualization of the outcome of the June 12th 1993 election which was annulled illegally by the then military dictatorship.
HURIWA said the fact that the Appeal Court has freed Major Al-Mustapha does not mean that the wife of late MKO Abiola; Mrs. Kudirat Abiola was not killed by alleged state -sponsored killer squad just as the RIGHTS group said it was shameful that many Nigerian patriots are killed by assassins and yet the Government is incapable and/or unwilling to bring the murderers to swift justice thereby continuously creating atmosphere of impunity.
In a statement made available to the media and endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said thus; “We in the human rights community have the greatest respect to the integrity of the nation’s judiciary but we are also very conscious of the fact that as an institution run by human beings who are imperfect, there are possibilities of compromise and other attributes of corruption and bribery. We therefore use this medium to ask that the Federal Government and the National Judiciary Council to suo moto cause the transparent investigation of the just concluded proceedings in both the Lagos state High Court of Justice and the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria on the alleged murder of Mrs. Kudirat Abiola in which the Chief Security Officer of the late General Sani Abacha was indicted and prosecuted resulting in his eventual conviction at the first court of instance and then the recent acquittal and discharge from the charges by the Court of Appeal of the duo of Major Al-Mustapha and an aide to the late Abiola Mr. Sofolahan.”