Nigeria: Pressure Mounts On Jonathan, Traditional Rulers To Save Al-Mustapha

Family and friends of Major Hamza Al Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer,(CSO) to the former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, are lobbying traditional rulers across the country to save him from an imminent death.

A Lagos High Court on Monday had sentenced him to death by hanging along with Lateef Shofolahan, for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola.

Investigation by Saturday Tribune revealed that the family, though had resolved to institute an appeal against the ruling, they did not want to put all their eggs in one basket.

They were said to be making frantic efforts to use highly respected citizens to assist in reaching out to the government to temper justice with mercy by commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment.

It was learnt that the move was a prelude to securing a state pardon for the duo in the future.

According to the investigation, the current agenda is to lobby influential traditional rulers in the north, who have friends among high-ranking traditional rulers in the south whose opinions are respected by government on the need to cooperate in seeking reprieve for al- Mustapha and Shofolahan.

The belief of the lobbyists was that the two had suffered enough, going by the number of years they had been in custody.

It was also learnt that the friends and loyalists of al-Mustapha had decided not to intimate the family of their own separate plans to save him but to work assiduously towards achieving results.

According to them,the agenda of commutting the death sentence to life imprisonment will go a long way in speeding up genuine national reconciliation.

Similarly, indigenes of Kebbi state have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the conviction of the duo with a view to dousing the public anxiety caused by the judgment of the court.

The Kebbi State Indigenes Association, made the call during a courtesy visit on the management of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) at the Kaduna Zonal Office.

They also advised the Federal Government and the Nigeria Judicial Commission (NJC) to investigate the case and ensure that justice prevailed.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Association, Mallam Garba Muhammad Zuru, in his address said, “though, we are aware that the convicted persons have the right of appeal, the case should be looked into with a view to ascertaining the legality of remanding the suspects in prison custody for 13 years.

“This will help to restore the lost confidence of the judiciary on recent cases that border on issues of national security, political and peaceful co-existence of the country.”

They equally urged the national leadership of the Igbo community to retract its order, calling on Igbo resident in the north to return home because of the current insecurity in the country.

“This call does not reflect true federalism that the country is clamouring to sustain. you cannot tell someone who had established his business to return home without making any provision to rehabilitate him, and by implication, you are telling those that are of northern extraction too to leave.

“We want to believe that the best way to resolve this problem is to support President Jonathan’s call on Boko Haram to embrace dialogue to stop the killings of innocent Nigerians.We are also calling on the Boko Haram sect to seize the opportunity of addressing their grievances through dialogue with the relevant authorities, so that the north and indeed the country will return to the peace that it is known for.”

The indigenes also condoled with the Kano State governor and the people of the state who lost their loved ones during the attacks in the State.

“Because we the indigenes have been living in peace among ourselves, despite our religious differences even among family members in Kebbi state. Therefore, we are calling on other states and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to borrow a leaf from Kebbi with a view to proffering genuine lasting peace and security in the region,” he emphasised.

In his remarks, the NTA Kaduna Zonal Director (ZD), Mallam Bala Hassan commended the effort of the Kebbi indigenes for initiating a peace tour of states facing challenges of insecurity and tension between indigenes of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds.

He called on other states to emulate the peaceful co-existence of the people of Kebbi for the peace, development and unity of the country.

He also aligned with the call to the Federal Government and other relevant authorities to intensify efforts in ensuring peace,unity and security in the country.

Source: Tribune

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    May God help us

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