My freedom still a dream - Al-Mustapha

By The Citizen

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who regained his freedom last Friday, after 14 years in incarceration, broke down in tears, Sunday, in Kano while recounting his experience, saying his freedom was still a dream to him.

Moments after arriving the ancient city of Kano, Mustapha paid courtesy visits to the palace of the Emir of Kano and Governor Musa Kwankwaso at Kano Government House, where he said: 'I have an empty house to go to.'

Hamza al-Mustapha

Hamza al-Mustapha
At Kano Government House, Mustapha said: 'I was opportuned to meet my beloved late father and mother twice during the last 15 years and now I have an empty house to go to.'

The former CSO told his host that his entry into the Government House was a clear reminder of an event on October 24, 1998, when he was brought into the Government House in tattered cloth and in chains by his captors in an attempt to rope him in for alleged attempt to topple a constituted authority.

He said: 'I am yet to reconcile with my freedom because I am yet to believe that this was the same Al-Mustapha that was brought into this House in tattered shirt, and in chains October 24, 1998.

'I was moved between Kano and Yobe from October 24 and 26 all in an attempt to implicate me over an alleged coup to overthrow the civilian government.'

Al-Mustapha, who was accompanied by Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, National Leader, Mr. Frederick Fasehun, Muhammad Abacha and several other chieftains of OPC, said: 'I am yet to understand what is happening to me. It is still a dream and I am finding it difficult to adjust to the reality.'

He also said there was a wicked attempt to kidnap his two siblings while in custody.

He said: 'I suffered serious witch-hunt and persecution all in an attempt to paint me black before the whole world.

'Yesterday is gone. I have forgiven all those who perpetrated the evil against me. I am back home and we are drawing a new line for a better Nigeria.

'In all I have got justice at last and we remain grateful to God, who has made it possible for us to enjoy our liberty once more.

'A father in Fasehun'
'I found a father in Otunba Frederick Fasehun, who had been very supportive. A detribalised Nigerian, he stood by me during my travail and he is with me now that I have regained my honour and liberty.'

In his speech, Governor Kwankwaso commended the judiciary for standing by the truth, adding that Al-Mustapha's ordeal was a lesson to everyone

According to Governor Kwankwaso, 'Al-Mustapha's freedom gives me joy, and his freedom is a big lesson to all of us. I wish to seize this opportunity to commend the judiciary for siding with the truth.'

Al Mustapha had earlier in the day arrived Kano to a rousing welcome as scores of residents lined Kano streets to catch a glimpse of him.

Commercial activities were brought to a stand-still till late evening as people defied Ramadan to join others on the street.

Armed soldiers took over his personal security on arrival, while a combined team of police, OPC and local militias controlled the huge but orderly crowd of supporters and well-wishers.

Al-Mustapha was forced by the huge crowd to postpone the proposed visit to the grave of his late parents, where he was billed to offer special prayers

In an interview with reporters at Government House, Al-Mustapha defended his visit to cleric, T. B. Joshua, describing him as 'an old friend who cannot be forgotten so easily.'

On his military career
According to Al Mustapha, 'immediately I regained my freedom, I headed straight to the palace of Oba of Lagos. Then I visited T. B. Joshua and other important dignitaries that identified with us during our travails.'

Asked to confirm when he would resume work against the backdrop that he is still a Major in the Nigerian Army, He said: 'The decree that set up the military is very explicit on the issue, and the court verdict left no vacuum on same.'

While in the city, Al-Mustapha visited the emir's palace, government House and General Sani Abacha's residence located at Gidado Road, Nasarawa, GRA Kano