There are not ten people in the world whose deaths would spoil my dinner, but there are one or two whose death would break my heart.
-Thomas Babington Macaulay (- in a letter to Hannah Macaulay, 1833)
You would have thought the saga of Abiola and his wife, Kudirat would have ended with the condemnation of Al-Mustapha and one hitherto unknown Lateef Sofolahan. MKO died a spectacular death; just like Kudirat died. MKO might have been detained but he had tolerably fair health. Then he died suddenly. They attributed his death to tea he had taken in custody. That was a deceptively lethal tea.
Kudirat enjoyed good health and she was going to meet the envoy of Canada when we can, how say, she met her death. Thanks to Sergeant Rogers. Those who organised the two deaths had no milk of human kindness. For Kudirat that was 16 years ago (June 4, 1996).
The two deaths broke our hearts. It was the same when they happen till today. According to court records: the murder of Kudirat was skillfully planned “by the 1st and 2nd defendant with the assistance of Al-Mustapha and Sofolahan” Sergeant Banabas Jabila a.k.a Sgt Roger and Mohammed Abdul, alias Katako. They went to trial twelve years ago.
Al-Mustapha’s relatives “wailed in court (yesterday) describing the verdict of ”hanging by the neck until you die as shocking.
Of course, Al-Mustapha and Sofolahan have appealed the verdict as they were expected to do-to at the Appeal Court and I do not see them taking more than two years. If they are unfortunate to have a guilty verdict they will move to the Supreme Court of Nigeria and you bet another two or three years. It means they would have waited all of 17years or so to go free or to go hang.
I have read practically what everybody has had to say –from those who said Al-Mustapha and Sofolahan deserved what was coming to them to the few who said they should have mercy despite their callousness.
I feel the children deserve to feel the way they did. Hafsat Abiola Costello, summed up the Kudirat children thus:” Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The death sentence handed down by Justice Mojisola Dada in the case against Major Hamza and Mr Sofolohan may well be the beginning of the end of a sad story….
‘’The story had many twists and turns such that my six siblings and I often wondered if those that executed the assassination of our dear mother might not simply get away with it…Yet, over 15 years later, when all hope had been lost, Justice Dada restored my faith in my country’s judicial system and in the integrity of the Nigerian people when she courageously chose to hear my mother’s cry from the grave for justice”.
Every story has morale; I hope the morale of this story is that through retribution may be slow in coming one day everyone will get what they deserve. After all in some parts of Nigeria, we also say, “everyday for the thief but one day for the owner”.
After all, the children have been orphans for 15 years!
I have for two or three times called for the sentencing or letting off of the prisoners. I have always believed that a justice delay is justice denied. And I say today: let the prisoners go and sin no more. They will have the rest of their lives( which they denied Kudirat) to deal with their crime that would be their punishment.
If it were under Sharia we would have long forgotten the sentence. They would have been executed or reprieved.
Emirs and Arewa Consultative Forum seemed to have settled for strategies to spring Al-Mustapha off the jail. They were not talking of Appeal Court. The Emirs plan to meet President Goodluck to ask for state pardon for the convicts (if their appeal failed). They say Al-Mustapha is “one of their illustrious sons”.
They already have argument to win case. They intend to use argument of Henry Okah of MEND (the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta) and others.
To summon power of nolle prosequi to apply for state pardon to them. The Emirs also would rely on sections of the constitution of Nigeria.
We would ignore the insinuation of the ACF that has dismissed the judgement “as a miscarriage of justice and mockery of established process”. I cannot remember that Emirs prevailed on Sani Abacha to temper justice with mercy when Diya and co were condemned to die. Thank God they got clemency but not a pardon.
I hope they will remember now to dot the “i” and cross the “T” this time around: and add pardon to the clemency they granted Diya and co.
MKO was my friend and my cousin, Kudirat was his wife and the wicked had done their worst. We will not forget and I will always remember them.