Abiola’s Death: Al-Mustapha Insists Some Yoruba Leaders Were Bribed By Gen.Abdulsalami…Says More Incriminating Evidence In Seized Video Tapes
￼Former Chief Security Officer to late Head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha,Major Hamza Al-Mustapha was back at the Lagos high court, Igbosere on Lagos Island today, Tuesday to continue his testimony on the death of late Kudirat Abiola, during which he insisted that some Yoruba leaders including late Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ige actually collected bribes from the then military ruler, Gen Abdulsalmi Abubakar to thwart the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by MKO Abiola.
While answering questions put to him by the Solicitor General, Mr
Pedro Lawal, Major Al-Mustapha corrected his earlier testimony that
leaders of the south west visited former head of state, General
Abdulsalam Abubakar, admitting that the visit was made by elders of
the National Democratic Coalition [NADECO].
He also denied being physically present when money was shared to the
elders to induce them to jettison the June 12 mandate.
He however, reaffirmed his earlier testimony that the late Justice
Minister was compensated for all the roles he played at the time.
Hamza Al-Mustapha revealed that he was in possession of more than 11
Ghana- must- go bags filled with video tapes, CDs and files of
official secrets before his arrest.
The video recordings according to him include what he claimed were
recordings of the last minutes of the late MKO Abiola’s life and that
of the meeting where money were allegedly shared among Yoruba leaders.
The alleged recordings were taken from him by security agents whom he
said overturned his residences in Abuja, Kaduna and Yobe states.
Al-Mustapha admitted that he was not with Sani Abacha when he died,
but said he last saw the late head of state at about 2am on the day he
died, along with some ministers and ambassadors who were at the
Presidential Villa for a meeting.
He also admitted that he was also not present when Mr Abiola died,
adding that he was, “technically present when Abiola slumped and died
in the presence of the four people that were with him when he drank
He argued that his presence there, “technically”, was via a
centralised tape recording system he maintained, which according to
him,gave the confidence to confirm what happened.
“If I am not there, I cannot confirm it from the tape I have,” he
said. “My technical presence is as good as physical presence;
otherwise I cannot claim my knowing.”
Al Mustapha however, said the video tapes were no longer in his possession.
“They were seized after I was arrested on October 21, 1998 in Enugu on
the orders of General Abdulsalami where I had been transferred to. In
Abuja, 11 ‘Ghana-must-go bags’ were taken and I’ve not seen them till
date.” He said.
The Solicitor General of Lagos State, Pedro Lawal, then asked him how
he was able to get the tape of the visiting Yoruba elders and he said,
“Careless keeping is a form of security where something valuable are
kept in the open,” Al-Mustapha replied. “That video was labelled
cartoon, and that was why it was left behind.”
When prosecution asked why the video of Abiola’s death and the one
where money was shared were not tagged cartoons or carelessly kept,
Al-Mustapha replied: “They were all taken away.”
Prosecution also called for a replay of the video aired on Monday,
which Al-Mustapha presented to back his claim that Yoruba leaders were
paid by the presidency after Abiola’s death.
After viewing the tape again, Lawal stated that the response by the
leader of the group, Abraham Adesanya, did not signify that the
alleged meeting held a day after Abiola’s death.
Al-Mustapha then quipped that MKO Abiola died exactly a month after
Abacha’s demise, and “such was so automatic for anyone to understand,
On July 6, 1998, Bola Ige brought Abiola’s family to see him. Then on
July 7, 1998, Abiola died and then on July 8 1998, the Yoruba elders
came and held discussions and they say they will go ahead with the
government of national unity without knowing what happened to their
man who was hale and hearty? These are questions that must be asked,”
Holding on to his claim that former head of state, Abdulsalami was
central to death of the late June 12 winner, Al-Mustapha asked: “Why
Obasanjo was sent home and Abiola left behind in detention. Abiola was
in Abuja, while Obasanjo was in Yola. If General Abdulsalami cannot
answer these questions because he is bigger than everybody, then let
those distinct questions remain open.”
Still on the video, Lawal noted that amongst those in the video was
Arthur Nwankwo, a NADECO chieftain. He, therefore, asked Al Mustapha
if he wouldn’t agree that the people in the video were “elders of
NADECO and not South-West leaders.” Al-Mustapha agreed with the
prosecution and acknowledged that this was indeed a meeting with
On the allegation that Nuhu Ribadu had orders to kill him, Al-Mustapha
claimed that the Commissioner of Police “this morning confirmed on
Radio France that ‘Ribadu is my boy and he operated under me.”
When asked why he is making all these revelations now, Al-Mustapha
again repeated his charge that he had never been given the
“This is the first time for me to defend myself in 13 years,” he said.
“Even while I was at Oputa panel, I was always given no-go areas -
issues I could never discuss. There was a time late Gani Fawehinmi
came and sat beside me in the box and said ‘if they were going to
shoot you, let them shoot us together. Speak and you must speak.”
Al Mustapha told the prosecution he believed in the integrity of the
court and had asked that all the things seized from him must be
The suspect also demanded for the inventory of his properties,
alleging that “it is my possession of the tape on Abiola’s murder that
has brought this case.” He further stated that he became “an enemy” to
people that wanted Abacha removed.
“This started in 1994 when they wanted to kill him and they could not
because I was there,” he said.
He also urged the court to issue a subpoena to police officers from
Panti CID who investigated the assassination of Kudirat Abiola between
1996 and 1998, saying “they must be brought to testify.”
Justice Mojisola Dada granted an application filed by the defence team
seeking to challenge her ruling on a no case submission, ruling
delivered on July 14, 2011.
The court adjourned till Wednesday after an argument by counsels on
both sides on the admissibility of statements made by Major
Al-Mustapha before the Oputa panel, which are not before the court.