Post Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:09 am

Bola Ige was ‘unconsciously complicit' in Abiola's death


Bola Ige was ‘unconsciously complicit' in Abiola's death, says Al-Mustapha

The ongoing trial of Hamza Al-Mustapha which took a major twist on Monday raised more dust Wednesday as the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) alleged that former Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, was ‘unconsciously complicit' in the murder of M.K.O. Abiola.

He alleged that the former Minister of Justice was the liason officer used by the Abubakar regime to cajole South-west leaders to jettison the June 12 struggle. The trial which resumed the second day of cross-examinations which was led by Mr Mustapha's lawyer; Olalekan Ojo, on Wednesday, further revealed the complicity of some Yoruba leaders in the mystery surrounding the death of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1999 general election.

Mr Mustapha had on Monday alleged that the federal government withdrew the sum of $200 million, £74 million and N500,000 from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay some Yoruba leaders after the death of Mr Abiola.

The former CSO who has been on trial for the past 13 years for the murder of Kudirat Abiola (Abiola's wife) revealed that following the death of former head of state, Sani Abacha, he reached an agreement with the presidency which was headed by Abdulsalami Abubakar, and he urged that "Mr Abiola must be released and that after a short while, he should be given his mandate back."

He further explained that the FG relieved him of his duty as the liaison officer to Mr Abiola and replaced him with Bola Ige. "I was the one in charge of Abiola's protection and as his liaison officer to the government, but the FG relieved me of the duty and appointed Bola Ige in place. "Bola Ige approved all the Very Important Personalities (VIPs) that visited Abiola."

He noted that one of the VIP was the leader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group-Afenifere, Abraham Adesanya. Mr Al-Mustapha further revealed that after the sudden death of the late Abiola, he wrote an 11-page letter to Mr Ige, which he tagged "How you were unconsciously used in the murder of Abiola."

The defendant then presented VHS video recording evidence to the court as a proof of evidence of Bola Ige and the role of other Yoruba leaders. The evidence was dully admitted by the presiding judge, Mojisola Dada, despite pleas from the prosecuting counsel.

Mr Ige was assassinated in 2001 by yet-to-be identified gunmen. Espionage photocopies Not done with his revelations, Mr Al-Mustapha also presented a second evidence of memos signed by the former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar and the then National Security Adviser, Abdullai Mohammed which ordered the release of the funds stated earlier from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Referring to the memos as ‘espionage photocopies', Mr Al-Mustapha stated that "soft copies of the document were saved in the memory of the photocopier machine" by his boys in the intelligence community, whom he had employed in the Villa. He also explained that the federal government's excuse for the withdrawal of the $200 million, £74 million and N500,000 was to "carry out some roles on national security and pay some soldiers who were on peace-keeping mission" but instead was used to pay some leaders.

The memo was also presented as an evidence to be admitted but the prosecuting counsel objected to it, claiming it is secondary evidence that was not verified by anybody. However, the judge ruled in favour of the defendant, stating that "the evidence can be admitted on the ground of relevance".

The defendant had a field day as the judge ruled against every objection raised by the prosecuting counsel during the cross examination. The Judge then adjourned the case till Thursday, when the video evidence would be played.

Abdulsalam must be docked Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, the founder of Odua People's Congress (OPC), Federick Fasheun wondered why he kept all this to himself for 13 years while the country and the judiciary had continued to frustrate him, to frustrate his release and liberty, adding that he has no option but to tender evidences that would support his claim to independence. Mr Fashedun declined benefitting from the alleged largesse from the federal government, stating that "I am not such a Yoruba leader."

He added that he is very "embarrassed at the leaders who fed fat on a struggle that we were pursuing innocently." Mr Fasheun also stated that Mr Abdusalami should be subpoenaed to clarify issues raised against him. "I don't know if the General still has the privilege of immunity but if immunity is supposed to downgrade justice and truth where an innocent soul has been kept in detention for 13 years, then let him come and clarify some of the issues raised."
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