Lagos Rules Out Intervention In Mustapha's Trial, No Comments On N20B Fraud Allegation


LAGOS, MAY 29, (THEWILL) - Lagos State Government has said it would not yield to the pressure from some groups and interests, calling it to wade into the on-going trial of the late General Sani Abacha’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and 2 others, who are on trial for alleged attempted murder of the Publisher, Guardian Newspapers, Chief Alex Ibru.

The state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) also declined to respond to questions relating to allegations of financial impropriety made against him by a group called 'The True Face of Lagos' (TFL) saying the allegations have not been substantiated.

The governor made this known today at the third anniversary of the mega transformation in Lagos where he said the state government has no power to stop the trial of Mustapha along with a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. James Danbaba and a Chief Superintendent of Police (CPS), Mr. Rabo Lawal who have been on trial since 1998.

Speaking on Mustapha's trial, the governor said it was not proper to discuss the matter outside the court until the court "completes the prosecution of the accused persons, who have been in detention in the last 11 years. The trial is not yet completed, even though it should have been done within two years."

According to him, the need to pursue the prosecution to a logical end is of paramount issue if the concerns and grievances of the two interests need to be addressed. The interest of the accused persons must be protected. The interest of the victims also need be protected.

On the alleged financial misappropriation and impropriety, Fashola said members of the State Executive Council would not be distracted by the allegations made by 'The True Face of Lagos', saying he would respond at the right time.

He said: "The State House of Assembly has commenced investigation into all the allegations, though courts have also stopped the process. Until the court of law completes its review, there is nothing I can say. We cannot respond to the unsubstantiated allegations.

"We will not be distracted. The legislative arm has commenced investigation into the allegation. But the judiciary had stopped the process due to certain review it is doing. On this note, we cannot respond, but will respond at the appropriate time," he said.

When asked via an SMS whether the he would contest the 2011 governorship election, Fashola simply said he "is only interested in the prosperity of Lagos State."

Fashola also spoke about his relationship with the state House of Assembly, his predecessor, Senator Bola Tinubu and the Action Congress, describing it as peaceful.

Last month scores of aggrieved youths from different geo-political zones stormed Lagos seat of power, protesting continued detention and delayed prosecution of the former chief security officer to the late General Sani Abacha.

The protest was organized by Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Hausa Community Association (HCA), Lagos State Chapter and Forum for Justice and Good Governance (FOJUGG). They urged Fashola to consider pardon for the accused persons.

The protesters marched to the Governor's Office from Ikeja Central and displayed placards with such inscriptions as "Free Mustapha Now; Justice is not Revenge; 11 Years in Detention is injustice; Justice delayed is Justice denied; Governor Fashola Temper Justice with Mercy; Let them Go and Sin no more" and shouting songs of fairness, freedom and justice as well.