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Hamza Al-Mustapha, Accused of Involvement in Several Attempted Murders is Discharged and Acquitted
Hamza Al-Mustapha, former chief security officer (CSO) to Nigeria's former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, who has been standing trial since 1999, over his alleged involvement in the attempted murder of Alex Ibru, publisher of The Guardian newspapers, has been discharged and acquitted, Tuesday, December 21, by Justice Muftau Olokoba, at a High Court in Lagos, in the Lagos Division.
The sitting, which was initially billed to begin by 1pm, eventually started two hours behind schedule. Mustapha, who came into the court room at about 1pm, in the company of his co-accused - James Dambaba, former Commissioner for Police in Lagos State, Jubril Bala Yakubu, former military administrator of Zamfara State, and Rabo Lawal, donned a cream native attire, rolling the sleeves up a point just below his elbows.
Beaming with smiles along with his fellow co-accused, he waved to his supporters in the court room, which included 25 women from the Concerned Women group, who came with posters, seeking for his release. "Thank you so much," he blurted once in a while as he shook hands of some of his supporters. Among his supporters and well-wishers, were also Dr. Frederick Fasehun, founder of the Oodua Peoples' Congress, and Alhaji Shettima Yerima, leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum. The court room was filled to capacity, with many having to fan themselves with newspapers and magazines.
At about 3pm, the four men mounted the witness box, to know their fate, even as Justice Olokoba began to read his judgment. Mustapha, who seemed to be the main focus, would sometimes use his pen to scribble down somethings only known to him, on a little pink paper, while at other times he would look straight at the Justice in whose hands it seems his fate was now in, having been on trial for almost 12 years. The four men were being charged for complicity in the attempted murder of Ibru, as well as an arson attack on Rutam House, along Isolo, Lagos, where The Guardian was being published.
Justice Olokoba, began by correcting the Prosecution that the Criminal Code Law with which it was using to prosecute the men, was out of place. He said it ought to be the Criminal Code, which was different, as this was where such offences levelled against the accused as well as the punishments were found.
Analysing the comments of the witnesses brought before the court by the prosecution, Justice Olokoba, said, "the evidence presented by the Prosecution was worthless and amounted to no evidence at all. On the link of the defendants to arson there was no credible evidence, but rather a distortion even during cross-examination, which most times turned out to be a comical show." He concluded that there was no prima facie case against them.
The 45minutes judgement, which culminated in Justice Olokoba discharging and acquitting the four men of the accusations, ended, with the court room erupting in jubilation. Mustapha and his colleagues, beamed with smiles as they embraced their well-wishers who thronged over one another to congratulate them.
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