Jul 14, 2013

Al-Mustapha gets VIP reception in Kano as Abiola’s wife condemns his release

A large crowd in Kano welcomed Mr. Al-Mustapha whose acquittal of murder has stirred controversy.

Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security Officer to former military ruler, Sani Abacha, arrived to a tumultuous welcome that literally grounded Kano on Sunday after a 14-year time in jail over the murder of Kudirat Abiola.

Mr. Al-Mustapha arrived at the Kano airport Sunday noon, flanked by Frederick Faseun, Chairman of the Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) and many others, to a rousing welcome by family members, friends and well-wishers.
The airport was filled to capacity as early as 8:30am on Sunday by people from various destinations within and outside the state.

Before his arrival, a detachment of army personnel arrived at the VIP area of the airport, cordoned the entry gates to the area, and barred people, including journalists, from entering.

Mr. Al-Mustapha, who was expected to go through the main entrance to the airport’s VIP; was made to go through another gate.

From the airport, he headed to Kofar Mazugal burial ground, his convoy moving slowly through the streets lined by thousands who turned out to greet him.

A Court of Appeal cleared Mr. Al-Mustapha of the 1996 murder of the wife of late billionaire politician, Moshood Abiola, who won the 1993 presidential election but was denied the mandate by former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida.

The court upturned Mr. Al-Mustapha’s death sentence on Friday and also ordered the release of Lateef Shofolahan, another accused in the murder.

The court’s decision has drawn condemnations amid allegations it was politically motivated.

On Sunday, one of Mr. Abiola’s wives, Modupe Onitiri-Abiola, questioned the court’s claim that it found no evidence against the duo, describing the ruling as “unfortunate”.

“I feel embarrassed for the justice system of Nigeria and also feel so much pain for the children of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola,” she said.

“How can the Court of Appeal discharge Al-Mustapha and Sofolahan, saying there is no evidence against them?

“I do know that all those who planned and carried out the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat and my husband, M.K.O Abiola, will soon receive their judgment from God,’’ she said.