Published On: Mon, Jul 15th, 2013

Mustapha Weeps on Arrival in Kano, Says Long Incarceration Turns him into an Orphan

LAGOS JULY 15TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Still savouring the air of freedom, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, on Sunday in Kano, wept profusely, as he recounted before a tumultuous crowd, his ordeals in Kirikiri Prisons Lagos, where he spent 15 years.
The former Chief Security Officer (CSO) of late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who had been facing trial over the alleged murder of Kudirat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, was freed last Friday by an Appeal Court sitting in Lagos.

Immediately after he arrived in a chartered aircraft with the founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr Fredrick Fasehun, he paid a thank you visit to the state governor, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, along with members of his (Mustapha’s) family, and said the prolonged incarceration turned him into an orphan.
He said he did not only lose his parents during the period, but was denied the privilege of paying his last respect to their departed souls as the first child of the family.
Though he said he had forgiven those behind his ordeals, he, however, claimed that some of his experiences in prison were better imagined, as according to him, they were meant to undo him.
“I must say that even though I lost my father and mother whom I was forced to see only two times in 15 years—I am their first child, I must say I was their confidant and best friend in my family; and yet, even when the court forced the then authorities to allow me to set my eyes on them, the approvals of the court were flagrantly refused. And I was kept and punished the more, just a ploy to ensure that I didn’t set eyes on my parents.
“I saw my father in 2001, and later I saw him in May 2007; I was allowed to see my mother in 2001 August, and after a long battle, despite all instructions from Federal High Court, Lagos, I saw her in 2006 and she died last year, in the month of Ramadan.
“The things we went through, I cannot sum up, but all I can say is that yesterday is gone, those who have perpetrated what they did against us have done it in their own deductions, analyses, feelings but to us, yesterday is gone. We have drawn a line and we have forgiven them. We are forging ahead to set examples,” he stated.
However, he lauded Fasehun for standing by him during those trying moments, saying he had found a new father in the OPC leader.
“Now, Your Excellency, I have found a father—highly dogmatic, a senior citizen of this country, a detribalised elder, an intellectual, a person that is a father indeed with a wide shoulder and a big heart, a man that is very reliable, responsible, dependable, in Dr. Fredrick Faseaun.
“He stood by me, having taken time to come to the court to realise what was going on in the court of law. On the other hand, what was being scripted and sponsored on the pages of newspapers, magazines, television and the radio were different, he now decided to stay on the part of justice and insist that justice must be served. In rainy season, dry season, cold season, he was always in the court.
“I know of the humiliation he suffered. Your Excellency I must say that I have a father in the South-West and the part of this country that is my own and that is a personality I look up to for vision and guidance. I respect him as a father that can look through issues beyond tribal sentiment, beyond religious issues, he is an asset to the country, and that is why I have anchored upon him as a father with whom we can look into the future together.”
Thousands of well-wishers, friends and sympathisers of the family, had besieged the Government House, the venue of the reception, where Kwankwaso urged them to join the government in thanking Allah for making Mustapha’s release possible after a long period.
“What happened to him is a big lesson not only to the family but to everyone of us; but I give thanks to the judiciary for this bold verdict. The few times I visited him in prison, I saw the commitment and his faith in Allah, and it was obvious that he would one day regain his freedom and today, that has been actualised; and the government, friends and associates of this great son will pull resources together to ensure his rehabilitation anywhere he chooses to live,” Kwankwaso noted.
The governor explained that he was particularly happy that the campaign for his release succeeded.
In his vote of thanks on the occasion, Fasehun stated that he was overwhelmed by the unprecedented crowd that received him and Mustapha at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) at about 12.05 pm in a chattered Donier 328 with registration number M—BETY, a UK-made jet.
Why I escorted Al-Mustapha to Kano —Fasehun
Dr Fredrick Fasehun, founder, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), in this phone interview with SEYI GESINDE, clears the air on issues surrounding his visit to Kano with Major Al-Mustapha, his relationship with him and certain statements credited to him.
On Mustapha declaring him as his father
En, ooto lo so yen (Yes, he said so). Does the fact that he called me his father make me his biological father? I have no apology to make in the choice of my friends and that I travelled with him to his hometown after his 14 years absence from such a town, ah! Please, we don’t need to make a mountain out of a mole hill. This is one Nigeria, are we at war? Is Nigeria at war?
On him declaring Mustapha as a national hero.
I didn’t say that. That is a lie. I never used the word hero. I said Mustapha is a Nigerian citizen and that he shouldn’t have been kept for that long in the prison and that we thank God now that he has regained his freedom and that Nigerians should view it as a new dawn. Do we have heroes in Nigeria? Where are the heroes in Nigeria?
On OPC providing security for Al-Mustapha
How can I provide security in Kano? The OPC in Kano got to know that I would be in Kano and they came to meet me.
They didn’t provide security, but for me. Mustapha didn’t need security to be provided for him. Security was made available to him by the state government. So, there is no way I will come from the South West and come and provide security for a northerner. Won kan npuro ni o (they are just lying). Every Nigerian knows that OPC is widely spread in the north. Whenever I go to the North, I am received by members of OPC.
Relationship with Mustapha
I came to Kano with Mustapha who has just been released from 14 years incarceration and he is my friend and like many of his father-friends, we came to accompany him to return to his home state. That’s all we had done and I’m surprised that people are now insinuating that I provided security for him, I did this, and I did that, far from it.
Only Supreme Court has final say on him —Sagay
Legal expert, Prof. Itse Sagay has said the Lagos State Government can go to the Supreme Court over the appellate court’s judgment which discharged and acquitted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Lateef Shofolahan.
Sagay, a lawyer, said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
The constitution lawyer, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the state government reserved the right to appeal if it was not satisfied with the judgment.
According to him, in spite of the fact that the Court of Appeal in Lagos has discharged and acquitted them, only the Supreme Court has the final say.
“I have not seen the judgment, but I have seen what the press summarised and basically what I deduce from what was published is that the evidences are contradictory.
“I cannot question it because I have not seen the details of what was in favour and what was against.
“I have not read the details of the contradictions, but Lagos State Government can appeal against the judgment to the Supreme Court.
“It does not matter whether they have been discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal in Lagos,” he said.
Sagay expressed fears that the judgment might encourage the culture of impunity in the society.
He prayed that nothing in the judgment would be interpreted as an encouragement for people to take lives without being brought to book.
“My fear is that the judgment, no matter how legitimate and justified, does not end up promoting impunity.
“There is that tendency to take life without fear of consequences and that is one of the greatest problems we have in this country now.
“My hope is that nothing in this judgment will be interpreted to mean an encouragement for people to carry on in that manner,” Sagay said.
He, however, exonerated the judiciary for prolonged adjudication of the case, adding that it had nothing to do with neither the judges nor the prosecution.
Source: Tribune

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