FG withdrew $200m, £75m, N200m to appease S’West leaders After Abiola's Sudden Death
Late MKO Abiola
Former chief security officer to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha yesterday stunned the court when he alleged that the Federal Government withdrew huge amount of money from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to appease South-west leaders after the sudden death of the late Chief MKO Abiola in detention.
Al-Mustapha made the revelation before a Lagos High Court, Igbosere, as he started his defence in the murder charge preferred against him over the June 4, 1996 assassination of Abiola's wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.
According to Al-Mustapha, $200 million, £75 million and N200 million were withdrawn from the CBN at the instance of the government to appease South-west leaders and douse the tension that arose following the death of Abiola.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, Mustapha alleged that the government had been nursing grave fear about the possibility of his divulging what he knew about the death of Abacha and Abiola and events immediately after their demise. He posited that it was the fear that prompted the government to mastermind his perpetual incarceration.
He told the court that he knew Chief MKO Abiola as far back as 1985 and that he was like a father to him, adding that even after the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections he assisted him (Abiola) on several occasions to gain access to senior military officers including Gen Sani Abacha.
The former CSO who broke down in tears told the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada that he had both audio and video evidence on how Abacha and Abiola were allegedly murdered.
“In the course of this testimony, I wish to say that I will omit any issue that will affect the national security of the country as a serving officer of the Nigerian Army. My incarceration was as a result of a script written and acted out to further keep me in prison. First were the events that happened after the murder of General Sani Abacha and the late Chief MKO Abiola. For fear that I may divulge information that led to their death, they have to keep me in prison till date.
“I am an officer who is being persecuted. After the death of Abacha so much happened within three days and the country was without a president or vice president. The then vice president, Lt. Gen. Diya was imprisoned for staging a coup. Many senior officers wanted to become head of state but God gave me the wisdom and I assisted General Abdulsalami Abubakar to become president,” he said.
Al-Mustapha who told the court that he was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 1980 added that he served in various units before his appointment as the chief security officer to the late Abacha.
He told the court that $200 million, £75 million and N200 million were allegedly withdrawn from the CBN to appease South-west leaders and douse tension that arose after the death of Abiola.
He said on one occasion the late Abiola slept and ate amala in his house when it was late for him to go home after consultations with some senior military officers on how he could regain his mandate.
He explained that all visitations to the late Abiola were on tape disclosing that some people, after visiting Abiola, would come back at night to the Presidential Villa to speak against him.
According to him, he did not order Sergeant Barnabas Jabila Msheila (alias Sgt Rogers) to kill Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, saying “on several occasions I assisted Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Mr. Kola Abiola, his doctor, Ore Falomo and his lawyers to visit him (Abiola) in prison. Abiola would have been killed the very day Abacha died but I relocated him within the barracks and used the Strike Force to protect him from those who wanted to balance the equation.”
The matter has been adjourned till August 3 for continuation of trial.