Murder of Kudirat Abiola: Lagos State Government Revisits Al-Mustapha’s Sentence
The Lagos State government has told the Supreme Court to set aside the July 12, 2013 judgment of the Court of Appeal which discharged and acquitted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha of the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.
Kudirat was a wife of the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
In place of the Appeal Court judgment, the Lagos State government urged the apex court to uphold and restore the death sentence by hanging, which was earlier placed on the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, by a Lagos High Court on January 30, 2012.
It would be recalled thatAl-Mustapha, Mohammed Abacha and one Lateef Shofolahan were arraigned before a Lagos High Court on a two-count criminal charge of conspiracy to commit murder and the murder of the Alhaja Kudirat Abiola on June 4, 1996 in Lagos State.
In the High Court judgment delivered in 2012 by Justice Moji Dada, the accused persons were found guilty as charged and sentenced to death by hanging.
In April 2012, the judgment was later set aside by the Court of Appeal, for the review of the trial and the conviction. The three Appellate Court justices, in a unanimous judgment voided the decision of the High Court and discharged and acquitted the accused on the ground that the evidence against them was not strong enough to warrant death sentence.
However, the Lagos State government, in a bid to reopen the case, filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court, asking for the permission of the court to allow it to challenge the findings of Appeal Court Justices Amina Adamu Augie, Rita Nosakhare Pemu and Fatimo Omoro Akinbami on the ground of miscarriage of justice in the matter.