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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Al-Mustapha: We’ll prosecute him if necessary, Lagos insists

Al-Mustapha: We’ll prosecute him if necessary, Lagos insists
  • Says it has just got copy of verdict

  • Appeal is waste of resources –Fasehun

The Lagos State government yesterday insisted that it would appeal against the verdict setting Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to the former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, free, if it finds it necessary.
The decision, the government said, would be based on the outcome of its study of the judgement. But in opposition to the possible appeal of the judgement, the founder of the pan Yoruba sociocultural group, the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, called on the Lagos State government not to appeal the judgement declaring that it would amount to a waste of resources and time.
Speaking yesterday in an exclusive interivew with Saturday Mirror, the State Solicitor-General , Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), who spoke on behalf of the government, disclosed that the government had just got the official reports of the Appeal Court yesterday.
According to him, the verdict would be critically looked at and appropriate action taken. Stressing that an appeal against the Appeal Court verdict would strictly be based on the conviction that the judgement was wrong, he said the state government is not a persecutor but prosecutor with integrity. His words: “I personally just got the copy of the judgement today (Friday).
What Nigerians should know is that Lagos State government, especially the state Ministry of Justice, is not a persecutor, we are prosecutors and we do it with integrity. “If there is any reason for us to appeal, we will. Not only on this judgement alone but also any judgement that is made against us whether in the High Court or Court of Appeal.
The only one we can’t appeal against is the Supreme Court’s final decision. Pedro, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, added that the state is not only interested in high profile case but any case against any citizens in the state.
He said, “Crime is crime; whether one steals N1 or N1billion, they are all offences. Whether one kills an old man or kills a baby, it is still murder. So, the way I will probe the person who murders a roadside mechanic, is the same way I will prove the case of a billionaire that was murdered. But if we have a good reason, definitely, we are going to appeal the judgement.”
Speaking on the allegation that Al-Mustapha was prosecuted for political reasons , Pedro described the allegation as unfounded.
Meanwhile, speaking with journalists at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Fasehun said the Lagos State government “must stop wasting taxpayers’ money by pursuing the case further”. He said the government must “immediately dismantle the team it assigned to prosecute the case”.
“Although it is the government’s right to pursue the case to the Supreme Court, not only will such cause waste of time and money, it will further fan the embers of hatred between the North and the South and prolong the psychological torture inflicted on an innocent man,” he said.
He said a fresh hunt must be launched to unmask Kudirat Abiola’s real killers saying, “The real killer of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola is still at large, out there.
A fresh hunt must be launched to unmask her real killers, as well as those responsible for killing: Bola Ige, Harry Marshall, Alfred Rewane, Funsho Williams, Odunayo Olagbaju, Ogbonnaya Uche, Theodore Agwatu, Barnabas and Abigail Igwe, Bisoye Tejuosho, Aminasoari Dikibo, Philip Olorunnipa, Ayo Daramola, Olaitan Oyerinde and M.K.O. Abiola”.
Fasehun also called for the sanction of Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos High Court who convicted Al- Mustapha to death before the Appeal Court set him free.
His words: “For her own part in this Theatre of the Absurd, Justice Mojisola Dada must be probed and sanctioned by the National Judicial Council, NJC”. Fasehun described last week judgement that set Al-Mustapha free as long expected adding that it had resuscitated people’s confidence in the Judiciary.

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