Al-Mustapha’s 2nd Bombshell: Ige, Adesanya Scuttled Abiola’s Mandate



In continuation of his defence this morning at a Lagos High Court, Southwest Nigeria, Major Hamzat Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to the then Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha, has dropped another bombshell.

Major Hamzat Al-Mustapha

On Monday, he accused Yoruba leaders of collecting money to scuttle the mandate of Chief MKO Abiola but stopped short of mentioning their names.

Today, he lifted the veil, alleging that the late Chief Bola Ige and Pa Abraham Adesanya were among the dignitaries from the southwest who kept visiting Aso Rock after the death of Abacha. Both Ige and Adesanya died years ago.

He claimed Chief Ige was the one liaising with the Presidency earlier to either release Abiola or restore his stolen mandate. But he was the one used later to scuttle the mandate.

Al-Mustapha said he has the graphic details of how some dignitaries visited Aso Rock after the death of Abiola. One of them was Pa Adesanya, who after the death of Abacha, was angry.

He said Pa Adesanya granted interview to pressmen at the Villa.

However, he said the same dignitaries who were in Aso Rock angry were very happy when they were leaving. This event, he said, were recorded by both the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA and his camera.

As the CSO at the Aso Rock when Abacha died and General Oladipo Diya, one-time second in-command to Abacha was in detention for coup plotting, he had the responsibility of handing over to the incoming CSO.

It was at that time he made the photocopy of a letter written by the National Security Adviser, endorsed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the then Head of State, to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to withdraw $200 million, 75 million pounds and N500 million.

These monies were shared to so many people, according to Al-Mustapha.

He added that a large sum of money was also shared to some people, but he did not mention the recipients of the money.

His lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, tendered a copy of the letter. But the prosecutor, Olabisi Odugbesan objected to the admissibility of the letter.

He said it was a photostat copy. Ojo said the letter was important because the documents were weighty.

The former CSO added that the elder brother of the former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie (whose name he did not mention) brought his own copy of the letter from the CBN.

He said the former IG’s brother was poisoned and killed when they realised that he was about to release the letter to the press for publication.

Part of the letter was read in the open court by Al-Mustapha. The letter requested the money for the purpose of offsetting the presidential fleet, estacode for Nigerians in Liberia and Sierra Leone and outstanding medical bills.

He said when Abdulsalami took over, government had 16 national agenda, top on the agenda was to release Abiola, put in place, a short transition programme whereby Abiola will be given his mandate after a period of time.

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He said, thereafter, Abdulsalami changed the programme and many people were brought to Aso Rock to share money. Julius Berger, the company in charge of security maintenance building was moved to Minna, Niger State to construct a house with underground tunnel for Abdulsalami.

Thereafter, all bullion vans that used to bring money from the CBN to Aso rock now moved money to the home of Abdulsalami in Minna. And when Abdulsalami knew he had these things on record both in audio and video tapes, he transferred him. He said when his house was searched, his properties were removed.

He said up till now, he has made several appeals, especially when he appeared before the Oputa Panel for all the documents and his properties to be released, all to no avail.

He also appealed that the inventory of what was taken from his house be released. Even in his house, he said shoes were removed because they believed his shoes could contain tape recorders.

Al-Mustapha said these are the reasons why Gen. Abulsalami wanted him dead in order to nail him at all costs.

He said some of his loyalists like Garba, a body guard at Aso Rock then, Yari Gadzama, his body guard and Aminu Mohammed, were severely tortured by the leader of a Special Investigative Panel headed by Lt. Col. Kayode Are.

He said Kayode Are was constantly in touch with the prosecution in Lagos and induced some of the witnesses to incriminate them in their testimony and their statements.

He stated that another grouse of Abdulsalami was the prison note of Yakassai who was convicted by a military panel. His notes put together, the former CSO said, contained propaganda, falsehood, all in an attempt to incite the people against him.

He said, unfortunately, the media were used to echo the former Head of State’s falsehood agenda and propaganda against him.

As at the time of going to the press, Al-Mustapha’s defence was still ongoing.

The trial of suspects connected with the murder of Kudirat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, resumed on Monday, 1 August with Al-Mustapha slamming southwest leaders of trading the death of Abiola for loads of cash in local and foreign currencies.

Al-Mustapha, who opened his defence in his ongoing trial alleged that he had documentary evidences to show that the then Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to release various sums of money that was subsequently given to the southwest leaders to pacify them.

The former CSO told the court that the sums of $200 million, 75 million pounds, and N500 million were withdrawn from the apex bank to appease the southwest leaders. Al-Mustapha, who came into the court armed with a television set and video recorder on Monday, claimed that he was close to the late business mogul, who he had known since 1995.

He said that he knew Abiola’s killers, whose motive at the time was ‘a balancing of the equation’ , following, according to Al-Mustapha, the killing of Abacha.

Immediately he dropped the bombshell, he was challenged to mention names of those he claimed collected money from the Federal Government to scuttle Abiola’s mandate.

—Akin Kuponiyi

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