Could this be true?

Ex-Security chief says he has video evidence

BUSINESSMAN Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, was murdered, Major Hamza al-Mustapha said yesterday.

The former security chief’s statement is contrary to the claim that Abiola’s death in custody on July 7, 1998 was natural.

The late Abiola was incarcerated after he declared himself president on the strength of the election’s results. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s regime cancelled the election.

Gen. Babangida, who was forced out of power in August 1993, handed over to an interim government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan, who was toppled by the late Gen. Sani Abacha in November, 1993.

The late Gen. Abacha who detained Abiola, ran an iron-fist regime, until he died in office in June, 1998.

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar took over. Under his watch, Abiola died.

Major al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Gen. Abacha, has been detained since 1998. He has been undergoing trial at a Lagos High Court over the murder of the late Abiola’s wife, Kudirat.

Mustapha also alleged that Gen. Abacha was murdered.

Major al-Mustapha accused Gen. Abubakar of complicity in the murder, saying Gen. Abubakar was afraid he could reveal what actually transpired.

He said the actual plot was to kill Abiola, the same day Abacha died, but for al-Mustapha’s intervention.

al-Mustapha spoke while giving evidence before Justice Mojisola Dada.

He said he possesses both audio and video evidence on how Abacha and Abiola were “murdered”.

He, however, said he would not make them public and would withhold some vital information in the course of the trial because of security implications.

al-Musatpha accused Gen. Abubakar of being behind his incarceration, alleging that it was his (Gen. Abubakar’s) desire that he be kept perpetually in custody.

He also told the court how he allegedly influenced the emergence of Gen. Abubakar as Abacha’s successor.

“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,” al-Mustapha said.

“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 by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar to further keep me in prison.

“The first relates to 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. Oladipo 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 Abubakar to become President. But, this is the price I am paying for my loyalty and for assisting him,” he said.

al-Mustapha claimed to possess some documentary evidence to show that shortly after Abiola’s death; Gen Abubakar allegedly ordered that various sums of money be withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to placate some Southwest leaders.

He said $200 million, £75 million and N500 million were allegedly withdrawn from the CBN to douse tension arising from Abiola’s death.

al-Mustapha claimed to have known Abiola from 1985 and that he was like a father to him. He added that after the annulment of 1993 presidential election, he assisted Abiola on many occasions to reach senior military officers, including Gen. Abacha.

He said at a time, Abiola slept and ate amala in his (Al-Mustapha’s) house when it was late for him to go home after consultations with some senior military officers on how he could regain his mandate.

al-Mustapha told the court that all visitations to the late Abiola were on tape, adding that some people, after visiting Abiola, would come back at night to the Presidential Villa to speak against him.

He denied ordering Sergeant Barnabas Jabila Msheila (Sgt Rogers) to kill Mrs. Abiola, claiming that he assisted her, Abiola’s son, Kola, his personal physician, Dr. Ore Falomo and his lawyers to visit him (Abiola) in prison. The hearing continues.

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