Probe Al-Mustapha’s prosecutors, HURIWA tells National Judicial Council

Posted by News Express | 16 July 2013 | 4,113 times

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A call has gone to the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the conduct of the team of prosecutors from the Lagos State judiciary that handled the case of the erstwhile Chief Security Officer to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, over the gruesome murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of Chief MKO Abiola, the undeclared winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential polls.

The call was made yesterday in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) following controversy trailing the release from detention of Al-Mustapha as a result of last Friday’s judgement of the Appeal Court, Lagos, discharging and acquitting him.

HURIWA 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. The group also canvassed public hearing of the probe by the NJC headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice (Mrs.) Maryam Alloma Mukhtar, 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 our belief 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, HURIWA 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’s verdict. The group 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, it should in partnership with the Federal Government “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.”

According to HURIWA in a statement made jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf: “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.”

•Photo shows Chief Justice Maryam Alloma Mukhtar.

Source: News Express

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