By NAL staff writer
Attempt by Nigeria’s former top security chief to the country’s late military dictator, Major Hamza al-Mustapha to reconstruct himself as a victim of a system that he once vigorously uphold suffered another reputation damage yesterday at the resumption of his trial before a Lagos high Court
The media and the public were disappointed on Thursday when the former CSO failed to substantiate his indictments of yoruba leaders that he claimed were given large sums of money by the then military government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to scuttle the mandate of Late Chief Moshood Abiola and calm possible regional uprising after the death of the business mogul turned politician, while still in detention.
al-Mustapha had on Wednesday tendered a video exhibit before Justice Mojisola Dada, which he claimed shows some Yoruba leaders visiting the presidential villa to compromise the death of Chief Abiola.
When the video footage was shown to a capacity filled court room, notably, late Chief Abraham Adesanya, late Chief Bola Ige and the former secretary to the National Democratic Coalition, Ayo Opadokun were seen leaving the presidential villa after presumably meeting with Gen. Abubakar; while Chief Adesanya answered questions from handful of journalist present. The video lacks detail of events that transpired between the yoruba leaders and Gen. Abubakar and couldn’t be independently verify.
The inadequacy of the video testimony dealt another blow to the credibility of al-Mustapha narrations and left a huge mole in establishing what transpired between regional leaders and the military government on the country’s eve of democratic transition.
He would, however, further feeds the minds of the public and media with tales of how the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu and Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro were given the order to kill him; and Gen Abubakar’s desire to kill former president Olusegun Obasanjo after the 1995 coup, which the latter was indicted over.
A public commentator, Tayo Akinade describes al-Mustapha claims as that of “the devil we know seeking redemption” and an exaggerated attempt to blackmail the larger society in his bid to regain freedom.
“That these (Yoruba) leaders were seen going into meeting or emerging from meeting with (General Abubakar) Abdusalami, does not reveal anything new. Moreover, Pa Adesanya during his lifetime never denies having a meeting with Abdulsalami. NADECO has always maintained that they were deceived into believing that Abiola will be released after the death of Abacha”
It is not the first time that the former CSO inside account of event that transpired within the dark days of military era in Nigeria would be subject to doubt. At the Oputa panel in 2000, al-mustapha claimed he has evidence of how Gen. Sani Abacha was killed. He was later to tender a video that shows operational techniques of Russian special agents.
Back in 2001, scholar and public commentator, professor Mobolaji Aluko in his judgment of al-Mustapha testimony before the Oputa panel said, “My proclivity is to believe Mustapha - except, again, some things don’t quite add up. I just don’t know what those things are at the moment.”
“Now here is a dashing young man who can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, with the Lagos girls (I hear) swooning over him, trying to get his autographs and press his flesh! All his words do not add up, but at least he has kept us fascinated with his teases about the evil machinations of his higher masters.”
The circumstances that surrounded death of Gen Abacha and Chief Abiola could be best classify as State-sponsored killings that exemplify the intricacy and complexity that are wovened deep inside the political fabric of Africa’s biggest country. Political observers have concluded that It is not clear how such complexity could be unraveled anytime soon, giving the nature of the present national government, which feels secure by maintaining the statuesque.
Press Record from Oputa Panel Truth and Reconciliation Panel
“Arrest Abdulsalami, Says Mustapha’s Family -The spokesman of the family, Alhaji Hadi Mustapha, a younger brother to the former CSO, who addressed newsmen yesterday in Kano, pointed out that “unless government is trying to portray Abdulsalami as a sacred cow, his arrest is the best at the material time.” - ThisDay, 8 August 2000.
“Apparently in keeping with his earlier promise to make more revelations concerning the regime of General Abacha vis-a-vis the opposition group, Major Al-Mustapha said there were some powerful forces within and outside the military who wanted Abiola dead at all cost soon after Abacha’s death. He did not mention names.” - The Post Express, 24 November 2000.
According former Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, “Mustapha was so powerful that even the Generals lived in constant dread of him.” - ThisDay, 8 December 2000
“I Cried To Save My Life, Says Adisa - If I had not done what I have done, I would have gone. So I have no shame. I have no apology for what I have done because I tried to save my life at that particular time.” ThisDay 15 December 2000.