Special Report

July 20, 2013

Al-Mustapha’s acquittal is unjust – Olalekan Abiola

Al-Mustapha’s acquittal is unjust  – Olalekan Abiola

Olalekan Ishau Abiola

Olalekan Ishau Abiola, the first son of late Alhaja Kudirat and Moshood Abiola, in this interview, insists his mother’s killers are still living large and walking the streets freely. Excerpt:

What’s your take on the Appeal Court judgement which freed Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan?

In our religion, we were taught that speculation is the worst kind of speech. Unless you are in a room with the conspirator, it is very difficult to say there was conspiracy to jeopardise the case. I think the Lagos State Government did the best it could under extremely difficult situations.

Olalekan Ishau Abiola

Olalekan Ishau Abiola

The killing of my mother happened during the Abacha regime, which means that those investigating the murder were investigating the people that perpetrated the act.

One of the things the Appeal Court said was that there was no police report. Probably, the police did not investigate the case in the best way. So, that was the major problem that the Lagos State Government had in pushing the case forward.

But we were fortunate that the principal actors, the person that shot my mother, Sergeant Rogers, admitted it; the person that drove the car admitted it, people that were present when the order was given admitted it. Their confessional statements were written in the dailies. But the weakness in the Nigerian judiciary system that allows the defense lawyer to delay cases, adjourn and make all kinds of motions, delayed the case and within that time, it was messed up.

The same Sergeant Rogers and every other person that confessed, initially, reversed their confession that they were under duress to confess because of the delay in the judicial system.

Besides, it was not only my mother that Sergeant Rogers confessed to have shot in the head. He confessed to have shot the late Alex Ibru, the Guardian Publisher; he shot at the car of Abraham Adesanya. Unfortunately, all the evidence was buried.

The case of late Bola Ige has been buried as well as other high-profile cases. Where are the cases of ex-Governors accused of embezzlement, corruption? None of them have been convicted.

This shows the weakness in the judicial system. Aside that, many witnesses that might have testified in one way or the other might have died, some are nowhere to be found.

So, the weakness in the system has to be addressed for Nigeria to move forward. When my mother was alive, she was receiving threatening phone calls. But she was optimistic that she had a place in Allah’s paradise. And I know that Allah would give her the paradise. So, whether convicted or not, it does not change where she is.

But as human beings, we should  discourage this act of injustice for the purpose of the future of this country. Right now, the Nigerian judiciary does not convict people enough. We have become a nation where anything can happen.

I don’t know the kind of signal we are sending as a nation. Nobody has been arrested or convicted for the murder of over 30 students in Yobe State. There are several illegitimate killings going on in the country without anybody being convicted.

It seems the family is not satisfied with the judgement. Are you thinking of going back to court?

We never went to court in the first place. It was the Lagos State government that took the case to court. We never put pressure on the Lagos State government or anybody. All we wanted from the beginning was a fair  trial.

But, in this case, we cannot say we have gotten a fair trial.  A situation where those believed to be involved in the murder of my mother were discharged and acquitted is a total injustice. This means they are telling me I never had a mother or that she never existed? Who shot my mother? I can’t be happy with the fact that all those who had confessed to have been involved in the murder of my mother are free.

But I am willing to forgive anyone who did it. As moslems, we are mandated to forgive those who trespass against us. But, in this case, nobody has admitted he is guilty. Those who admitted were not convicted. The only good thing is that Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan spent 14 years in jail.

I also appreciate the Judge at the Lagos High Court who was brave enough to pronounce the death sentence on Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan because they did everything within their power to frustrate justice. The fact that the Appeal Court threw the case out has not changed anything. When the death sentence was passed, it was appreciated by many people. But when the Appeal Court threw it out, people were shocked.

If the Lagos State government decides to go to the Supreme court, I will support it because the Supreme Court started the dismantling of this case.

The first time Mohammed Abacha said was that he had no case to answer. The Supreme Court accepted that he had no case to answer which was ridiculous. A case that had not been judged at the lower court was hijacked at the Supreme Court. The case has been messed up. But my candid opinion is that going to court is a waste of time.

Do you think Al-Mustapha was actually involved in the muder of your mother? The Appeal Court said there was no concrete evidence to prove he was guilty.

Speculation is the worst kind of thing. I believe the initial confession by Sergeant Rogers about how Al-Mustapha gave the gun and the order to carry out the operation. I believe he was not only involved in my mother’s killing but in the killings of other people.

So, if he likes, let him go to Kano and present himself as a hero. Let the Kano State Government give him a title or make him Imam of their Central Mosque. But I know that the Almighty Allah will judge the case himself.

If he had a hand in it, he should make his repentance to Allah but the chances of his repentance to be accepted by God are very slim because it has to do with blood. He has a case with God and the injured party. In this case, the injured party is dead, so no one can compensate a dead person. The fact is that they deprived my mother of her life unjustly and of motherly role.

Even if they had upheld the death sentence, no governor would have signed it. Since democracy was brought back to Nigeria, the only governor who had the nerve to sign a death warrant was Oshiomole of Edo State. No other person has done that because they are all cowards. So, the case would have been buried. But, if Al-Mustapha had a hand in my mother’s death, I know he will not go scotfree. And whoever had a hand in the killing of my mother will be punished by God.

What is your position on his status in the Army?

They can make him a General or  Chief of Army Staff, I don’t care. But it is very unfortunate. My mother fought and gave her life and she knew that her life was at risk. We were begging her to leave Nigeria but she insisted. This woman fought for the democracy that Nigerians are enjoying today, but it is unfortunate that the present government could not ensure that she got justice. Her fight was successful, but it is a shame that the Nigerian democratic government could not repay her for the justice she deserved.