Counsel Grills Al-Mustapha



The cross-examination of Major Hamzat Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer, CSO to the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, continued today at a High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.


While being grilled by leading prosecuting counsel, Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN, on the video clip showed last week, Mr. Lawal asked him that Mr. Arthur Nwankwo was among the people shown in the video, therefore the delegation might not necessarily be elders from the Southwest but chieftains of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO.

He answered that he could only recognise the late Chief Bola Ige and the late Pa Abraham Adesanya, therefore, the delegation might have been elders of NADECO.

Responding to another question, Al-Mustapha told the court that he was not physically present when Chief MKO Abiola died, but he was technically present as he took the centralised tape that was recorded. He said, he kept the tape as a guarded secret.

He said another person working with him simply called Zadouk was in the hospital but was later arrested and kept incommunicado. Thereafter, Pedro asked him why he did not keep the video clip of Abiola’s death and only the one showing NADECO chieftain was kept. He told the court that the video tape played last week was ‘carelessly kept’ as it was labelled cartoon, the same way the one given to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo containing the decision that he should be killed.

He further told the court that after he was arrested around October 1998 in Enugu, all the compact discs, CDs and tapes that contained vital information were removed from his house. He said he had made several requests that if the seized video tapes and the CDs are not released, he cannot know the correct inventory of what was taken from his house.

He explained that it is from the inventory that he will know the items that were taken from his house.

The prosecuting counsel, Pedro wanted to ask what transpired at the Oputa Panel, but Al-Mustapha’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo objected on the ground that a copy of the proceeding was not before the court.

Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada ordered Pedro to continue his cross-examination while she postponed the proceeding to a later day.

On the letter written to Chief Bola Ige which was conveyed to him through his counsel, the late Clement Akpamgbo and Barrister Amobi Nzelu where he alleged that the ministerial post offered Bola Ige was used to settle him, Pedro asked Al-Mustapha how he managed to know.

He said for an in-coming government, there is always an agenda. And at the Aso Rock Villa, it was an open rumour as to who will get what appointments and individuals and groups were coming to the Villa to canvass for appointments..

As at the time of going to the press the cross-examination was ongoing.

It will continue tomorrow while it is expected the cross-examination will be concluded on Thursday.

—Akin Kuponiyi

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