By Henry Umoru & Chris Ochayi
ABUJA— FORMER Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode yesterday hailed the Judiciary and the Court of Appeal for quashing the death sentence handed to former Chief Security Officer, CSO to Late Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha.
He also commended the courage of the Judges, Justice Rita Pemu (presiding), Justice Amina Adamu Augie and Justice F. O. Akinbami
‘’It is not really the issue of what transpired in the court, it is just a result of what happened at the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos State today.
‘’ I am delighted about this fact. For almost 15 years, there was no conviction. So in our country, we locked up a man, put him in a cage for 14 years without getting a conviction. It was only after 14 years out of a lot of agitation from members of the public, that look, you can’t just lock him up indefinitely that, there has to be a conviction.
‘’But one way or the other, the Lagos State High Court now convicted him. And when they convicted him, the position that many of us took at the time…I wrote an essay on it.
‘’When he was convicted and I looked at the evidence, I studied the evidence; there was no evidence for that conviction. And I thought it was unjust. Now I am happy to say that he went for the appeal and consequent upon that appeal, the Court of Appeal has not only said that evidence was not there, but they also said, that it was almost as if there was a desperation on the part of the prosecution and the state to ensure that he was convicted at all costs over something he had never done.
‘’The judges used very hard words for the state and the prosecution. And this gives me hope for Nigeria, it gives me hope for all of us, that no matter what anybody goes through in this country, at the end of the day, the court will do the right thing .”
Kayode however said that the outgoing Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, UN and the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs at the time Chief M.K.O.Abiola died on July 7, 1998, Susan Rice must be made to come out with what happened and not for her to maintain her present posture of not making any comment on what happened to Abiola for personal reasons. He also said that a former United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, Thomas Pickering must be called to answer questions on what happened, just like the then Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar.
Fasehun hails Mustapha’s Appeal Court judgement, urges him to forgive
Founder and President of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr Frederich Fasehun, hails judgement
“At last, I am vindicated! I knew Al-Mustapha neither ordered, nor had a hand in, the killing of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola; and that was why I stood by him.
“I commend the Court of Appeal. I salute their courage, which they displayed in the face of daunting politics and powerful interests who wanted Al-Mustapha hanged by all means.
“People used to tell me they could not understand why I would be going to court in support of an officer who served in a regime that detained me for almost three years, destroyed my health and destroyed my businesses. But I told them that I had lived my entire life based on the principle of justice. And I would still protest injustice being done to even my worst enemy.
The judgement gave way for healing to begin throughout the country as it has closed the chapter of an ugly era in the history of Nigeria.
“Mustapha and his family must find it in their hearts to forgive Nigerians collectively.
”Many people, significant people, refused to speak up even when faced with the bare facts. Unfortunately, while evil interests, unscrupulous politicians, took Nigerians on a ride for 14 years and toyed with the life of this innocent man, the real culprits had enough time to escape justice.”