30th May, 2013
Justice Ibrahim Saulawa of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, on Thursday declined hearing an appeal filed by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Lateef Shofolahan, challenging a death sentence against them.
Al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to the late Gen. Sani Abacha, and Shofolahan, former Personal Assistant to Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, are challenging their death sentence by a Lagos High Court.
The convicts were sentenced to death on 30 January, 2012, by Justice Mojisola Dada, for conspiracy in masterminding the murder of Kudirat.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the matter, which was schedule for arguments of parties, could not continue as the presiding justice declined hearing for personal reasons.
Saulawa told the appellants’ counsel that he could only assist them in recording a further date for arguments, but will not participate in hearing the main appeal.
He, therefore, adjourned the case till 10 June for hearing.
Meanwhile, the judge granted two applications filed by Mr Pedro Lawal (SAN) and Mr Olalekan Ojo, counsel to the respondent and second appellant, respectively.
Lawal in his application, sought to amend his respondent’s brief by substituting it and deeming same as been properly filed and served.
Ojo on his part, prayed for an order, deeming his reply to the amended respondent’s brief, as properly filed and served.
Saulawa granted the applications, adding that it was the much he could do in the matter.
NAN recalls that the convicts were arraigned in October 1999 on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy and involvement in the 1996 murder of the deceased.
Kudirat was murdered in front of 7up Nigeria Plc, Oregun, on the Ikosi-Ketu Road.
Dada had found the convicts guilty of the offence and accordingly sentenced them to death by hanging.