Sources have told SaharaReporters that last week’s “judicial decision” which set free of murder charges Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to late Nigerian dictator, Sanni Abacha, is owed to President Goodluck Jonathan, who was following a “spiritual” fortune-telling that would enable him to win the 2015 election.
Controversial Lagos sect leader, Pastor TB Joshua, who has Mr. Jonathan eating out of his hands, has been identified as the person who told the Nigeria leader that his political fortune rests with setting Al Mustapha free.
In addition, Mr. Joshua has also told Mr. Jonathan if he is to win in 2015, he needs to bring back to Nigeria James Ibori, the former Delta State governor who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in the United Kingdom.
After Mr. Joshua’s spiritual “forecast” was told to Mr. Jonathan, SaharaReporters sources say he instructed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke to take care of the judges involved in the case, giving him a war chest of $2 million.
But a judge, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, a Northern Muslim, who was earlier contacted to do the dirty job, refused to accept the bribe and removed himself from consideration of the plan.
Another judge, Amina Augie, was then drafted to handle the Al-Mustapha’s acquittal. Ms. Augie, formerly known as Anna Graham, who is originally from Anambra State and fourth wife of late Senator Adamu Augie of Kebbi State, took the case and assembled some lawyers to help with drafting the judgement.
It is also alleged that she got help from some members of the Nigerian human rights community in drafting the judgement, which blamed the prosecutors in Mr. Mustapha’s case for doing a “shoddy” job. Among other ridiculous arguments, Ms. Augie’s claimed in the judgement that the prosecution couldn’t provide the bullet that killed Mrs. Kudirat Abiola in 1996.
In an interview with SaharaTV yesterday, Hafsat Abiola, the daughter of the slain Nigerian democracy heroine, told Omoyele Sowore of SaharaTV that the Court of Appeal has yet to provide the lead judgement read by Justice Rita Pemu in the Al-Mustapha case to the office of the Attorney General of Lagos State.
Strangely however, Ms. Augie’s concurring judgement was already made available to subscribers of an exclusive Nigerian lawyer’s listserve, “Rule of Law” Nigeria. The judgement was provided to the listserv by the chairperson of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, who had initially derided a Saharareporters’ investigative report, which revealed that a deal was in the works to set Al Mustapha free of the murder charges two weeks before the judgement was hatched.
With reference to bringing Ibori home, it is unclear how Jonathan will go about it. The National Assembly has approved a prisoner swap law with the United Kingdom but it is yet to be seen how Ibori might benefit from that. Between his all-but-buried war against corruption and his deep desire to retain the presidency, there may be no limit to what policies he may come up with.
A source at the Presidency in Abuja told Saharareporters that Mr. Joshua has so much control over Mr. Jonathan right now that whatever he requests is granted without delay because the president believes that the pastor holds the spiritual key to his electoral success in 2015.
President Jonathan and his wife, Patience have made several nocturnal visits to the pastor since becoming president. Al Mustapha also visited the Pastor soon after he was released from prison before heading to Kano to meet with family and friends.