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Al-Mustapha: Group Calls for Probe of Prosecutors

July 16, 2013

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the prosecutors who handled Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha’s case.

The call is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja and jointly signed by the National Coordinator of the association, Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf.

Al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, was sentenced to death on Jan. 30 last year over the murder of Kudirat Abiola on June 4, 1996 in Lagos.

Kudirat was the wife of the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, who died on July 7, 1998.

Al-Mustapha was on Friday released from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, following his discharge and acquittal of a murder charge by the Court of Appeal in Lagos.

He was set free along with Mr Lateef Shofolahan, an aide to Kudirat.

The statement said the investigation should determine whether the prosecution team compromised the trial of Al-Mustapha and Sofolahan.

“The earlier judgment may have resulted in the eventual alleged miscarriage of justice by the appellate court in Lagos.

“It is the belief of the rights group that government and the hierarchy of the nation’s judiciary cannot afford to overlook the ground swell of allegations of professional misconduct,” the group said.

The statement urged the Lagos State Judiciary to consider the overall public interest before deciding whether or not to institute an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the appellate court.

It, however, stressed the need for the State Government to collaborate with the Federal Government to work out and implement “transparent civil financial compensation package for the family of the late Kudirat.

HURIWA said that the fact that the Appeal Court had freed Al-Mustapha, did not mean that Kudirat was not killed by “alleged state -sponsored killer squad.

“We in the human rights community have the greatest respect for the integrity of the nation’s judiciary.

“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.“ (NAN)

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