By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Tosin Adejuwon
THE drama that was played up by Sgt. Barbanas Jabila, aka, Sgt Rogers, principal prosecution witness in the on-going trial of those charged for the alleged murder of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, repeated itself yesterday when another witness, Mohammed Abdul, a.k.a Katako, contradicted himself in court.
Led in evidence in chief by the prosecution counsel, Mr.Â Lawal Pedro (SAN), Katako, who allegedly drove the vehicle from which Kudirat was shot to death said a different thing under cross-examinations by the defence team, saying he was at a wedding ceremony during the incident.
Major HamzaÂ Al-Mustapha, former CSO to late the head of state, Gen Sani Abacha, is standing trial of conspiracy and murder of Kudirat in 1996 with CSP Rabo Lawal and a former aide to the late Kudirat, Alhaji Lateef SofolahanÂ at the state high court sitting in Ikeja.
Barely 10 minutes into the trial before Justice MorenikejiÂ Dada, the witness, who had earlier told the court while being led in his examination â€“in-chief by the Solicitor General of Lagos state, Lawal Pedro, that he drove Sergeant Rogers to whereÂ Kudiratâ€™s was killed in a white Peugeot 504 Saloon car on June 4, 1996. He later changed the statement and said that he was on that day in his village getting married to his first wife.
Also, he changed his testimony about working for Al- Mustapha. â€œI donâ€™t know anything about the case before the court. I never worked for Al-Mustapha or received instructions from himâ€, under cross-examinations by Mr Olalekan Ojo, counsel to Al-Mustapha.
He told the court that he was promised, alongside Sgt. Rogers, former Major Ado, now Colonel Ado and Aminu Muhammed, 10 percent of Abachaâ€™s recovered loot to implicate Al-Mustapha in the case.
He however said only Aminu Muhammed refused to comply with the authoritiesâ€™ instruction and he was as a result charged to court.
Katako also recounted the conditions he saw the defendants and his former boss in leg chains and handcuff, including Muhammed Abacha. â€œFrom all indications, they were not taken care of because they stank.â€
He reaffirmed that they were promised so many things by the Lagos state government and the federal government when they were visited by the former Lagos Attorney General and the Attorney General of the federation, Professor Yemi Osibajo, SAN, and the late Bola Ige, SAN at the SSS headquarters in Abuja.
â€œI was arrested on September 17, 1999 and was taken to Abuja the following day. I appeared before the SSS and I wrote my statement in Hausa language but was later translated to English by the SSS officials and was read to me before I signed.â€
Katako however said of all the promises made by the authorities, a house was given to him in Jos, others are yet to be fulfilled.
The case was adjourned till October 12, 2009 for further hearing.