By AbdulSalam Muhammad
Could the decision by the Lagos State government to appeal the Court of Appeal judgement that freed Major Hamza Al-Mustapha from jail consume the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The question comes to fore given the fact that Lagos State, where the former Chief Security Officer to former military head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, was tried is under the sway of the APC. So is Kano State, Al-Mustapha’s home base, and also, Yobe State, his state of origin.
Given the common political currency dominating in the three states, the issue of an appeal of a sensitive matter as concerning the former security officer is bound to raise issues.
And so thinks Alhaji Ibrahim Babankowa, a Kano based elder-statesman and former commissioner of police who is credited with discovering the body of Nigeria’s erstwhile prime minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa following the first coup in the country in 1966.
Briefing newsmen in his residence Wednesday afternoon, the former security agent explained that “the steps taken by the Lagos state Government also have the capacity to rekindle distrust between the Hausa/Fulani extraction on one side and the Yorubas on the other”.
Lagos state Government Tuesday announced it has filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal of Al Mustapha and others freed by the court of appeal over the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
Alhaji Babankowa who is a close confidant of one of the APC national leaders, General Muhammadu Buhari noted that “the way and manner the north received this serving military officer on his home coming and the caliber of highly placed individuals that received him in audience was instructive that the region and the silent majority are solidly sympathetic to him”.
The former Commissioner of police stressed “from what I have seen so far I have no doubt in my mind that this current step would harm the relationship across borders against the backdrop of interpretation and understanding of a layman who are simply in the majority here”.
Babankowa though admitted that the decision of the Lagos State Government to go for an appeal at the Supreme Court might not be unconnected to the desire to satisfy the Abiola family.
“I have seen the case file and the ground of appeal by the Lagos State Government, it would be safe to say that they are trying to exhaust all legal means to satisfy the Abiola family in particular and the Yoruba race in general, but the danger inherent in such judicial expedition is the risk of relationship with our people”, Babankowa said.