“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”(John 8:32)
The Nigerian Federal Court of Appeal presided over by Hon Justice Amina A. Augie, with Hon. Justice Rita N. Pemu, and Hon. Justice Fatima O. Akinbami, as members judicially freed the head of General Sani Abacha’s killing machine Major Hamzat Al Mustapha of the allegation that he was responsible for the death of Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, the wife Mr. Moshood Kashimawo Abiọla the winner of the June 12 1993 election. The court based its judgment on what it considered the contradiction in the statements of the witnesses. The witnesses are Barnabas Jabila and Muhammed Abdul.
History shows that Major Hamzat Al Mustapha was the head of General Abacha killing machine whose main targets were the defenders of the June 12 1993 election, which was earlier, annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida head of state -1985-1993. The other members of the killing squad, which Hamzat Al Mustapha headed, were Ismaila Gwarzo, National Security Adviser and Frank Omenka of the then deadly Directorate of Military Intelligence. The main known killing foot soldiers of this murderous machine were Barnabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt. Rogers), Muhammed Abdul (a.k.a Katako), Alhaji Danbaba, and Rabo Lawal. General Sanni Abacha who was head of state of Nigeria between 1993-1998 himself allegedly died mysteriously on top of Indian prostitutes in Aso Rock, the seat of governance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On how General Sani Abacha died, no Nigerian state official-including Sanni Abacha’s recently judicially freed chief security officer Major Hamzat Al Mustapha has attempted to deny or refuted the claim that General Sanni Abacha, Nigerian head of state died mysteriously before an Indian prostitute. Until this is done, the world is therefore free to believe that Sanni Abacha died on top of Indian prostitutes right inside Aso Rock.
Hamzat Al Mustapha’s case is significant because he was the closest to his boss who made him the head of his killing squad. So Hamzat Al Mustapha who the clowning Mr. Frederick Fasehun of OPC (whose morally questionable political and economic agenda on issues are becoming clearer) escorted as a “hero” to Kano and who the Governor of Kano state –Mr. Rabiu Kwankwaso called a “hero” ought to know whether his boss died over Indian prostitute or not as alleged. If Messers Frederick Fasehun and Rabiu Kwankwaso have children, I wish to ask if they would recommend a murderer, and an assassin to their children as heroes, and if they will recommend murderers and assassins to Nigerian children as heroes.
We need to state these facts for some reasons. First we do this in the name of the dead who no longer are able to speak. Second, some of us were historically placed to directly bear witness (to the deadly killing machine created by Nigerian military dictatorship a phase that was headed -during Sanni Abacha’s time as head of state -by the recently judicially freed Major Hamzat Al Mustapha) and divinely placed to be alive to bear witness to truth on this issue to young Nigerians and Nigerian children home and abroad. Fourth, memory is short and characteristic of the Nigerian story, we are inclined to simply forget and “move onto new things”.
On the no guilty judgment passed on Major Hamzat Al Mustapha, I note that in a democracy, the court has a constitutional duty to pronounce as it has done in freeing Hamzat Al Mustapha. But we citizens have the constitutional and moral duty and right to accept or reject the court’s pronouncement. I am exercising that duty and right in this essay. Therefore, I reject the court’s judgment. I believe that Major Al Mustapha is vicariously guilty of the murder of Mrs. Kudirat Abiola. Based on the facts of General Sani Abacha’s military dictatorship, and the logic of the case before the court, I believe the court’s judicial pronouncement that Major Al Mustapha is not guilty is logically unsound and therefore political and subjective.
Those who bear witness to Nigerian history has the moral duty to tell that history before memory takes its toll. So this is for truth, for Pa Alfred Rewane, for Mrs. Kudirat Abiọla whose death Major Al Mustapha supervised. Let me say upfront that I take full responsibility for the legal implications in this essay. Therefore, I free the publishers of Premiumtimes of responsibility of this publication and since the court pronounced him judicially not guilty, if Major Al Mustapha feels I have defamed him, he should please sue me. I will be back in Nigeria to defend myself.
The murder of Mrs. Kudirat Abiọla and Pa Alfred Rewane is significant for their similarity. On Pa Alfred Rewane, the publishers of Tempo, The News, AM News and PM News-Mr. Bayọ Ọnanuga, Mr. Idowu Ọbasa, Mr. Dapọ Ọlọrunyọmi, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Senator Fẹmi Ojudu and the patriotic workers in those papers are best placed to corroborate this brief information. Most importantly, Ms. Peju Sanni, one of the brightest advert executives in Nigeria’s print media who headed the advertisement unit of these publications is a living witness to this testimony. History put all these fine gentlemen and lady in the historic position to one day bear witness to history. The AM News newspaper is the publication that has given us the opportunity for this historical recall.
AM News was formed during the period of Ibrahim Babangida/Sani Abacha military dictatorship as the morning edition to PM News. AM News has been rested, PM News is still breathing. Fired by the core belief in the unity of Nigeria based on the finest progressive social, economic and political vision, AM News then stood as on one of the ramparts that defended the rights of Nigerian citizens against the brutality of military dictatorship after the June 12 election. AM News was therefore a major opponent of Sanni Abacha’s military dictatorship that must not be allowed to survive.
Newspapers survive on patronage-both advertisements and circulation. Characteristic of Nigerian situation the advertisement sector of the economy was and is tied to the political establishment. AM News was a victim of this because for the fear of the military under Sanni Abacha no advertiser will advertise in AM News. This was where Pa Alfred Rewane stepped in. This was the same Pa Rewane who Mr. Ọbafemi Awolọwọ called “Ogidigbo” for the reason of his ceaseless support for progressive social democratic politics slightly on the left side of the ideological spectrum in the Nigerian public sphere during the Awolowo era. “Ogidigbo” is a Yoruba onomatopoeia, which suggests a supportive and foundational larger than life entity. For his unflinching support for progressive people based political vision it was clear why Awolọwọ would call Rewane “Ogidigbo”.
Pa Rewane was a complete gentleman, self-effacing highly cultivated and cultured. For every progressive historical situation there are always people –invisible to the public- who put their resources for the reason of truth to defend the rights of common folks. Given their poverty of idea, it is very difficult to talk of a cultured and independent bourgeois class in Nigeria. But Pa Alfred Rewane was one of the few very rich and bourgeois men who stood tall and stood out. An honorable gentleman with a rigid and set daily routine characteristic of his high Victorian culture, Pa Rewane was a quiet financier of the finest Nigeria progressive politics slightly on the left of the ideological spectrum in our nation.
Looking Sanni Abacha and the military straight in the face, and as a commitment to the defense of the rights of Nigeria citizens and June 12 election, Pa Alfred Rewane took a weekly paid advertisement in AM News. He paid for this. He did more. And Ms. Peju Sanni is best placed to tell this story for she was the one asked to liaise with Pa Rewane.
Days before the military’s killing squad took out Pa Alfred Rewane, the latter had called Ms. Peju Sanni for breakfast. It was supposed to be a breakfast talk whereby Pa Rewane would lay out his plans of support for AM News and by extension the struggle of the Nigerian people on the June 12 1993 election issue. On that very morning given our human mortality, no one had any premonition of the ugly hands of death and the imminent murder of Pa Rewane. As usual ever ready and acutely professional Ms. Peju Sanni was set to go. I am sure she was bubbling to meet someone-Pa Rewane- who was not seen as a mere funder but whose high culture and fatherly mien had made him relate vicariously to Nigerian citizens who were facing the bullets of Sanni Abacha military dictatorship on the streets as a grandfather and a bulwark.
But no breakfast on this day for Pa Rewane. None for Ms. Peju Sanni because before Ms. Sanni could get to Pa Rewane, the military’s bullet got to him first. No tea bag, no coffee, no milk, no honey, no butter or cheese was taken from Papa Rewane’s breakfast table by his murderers. Unlike the carrier of the bullet that cut down Mrs. Kudirat Abiọla who we all know, no one knows till today the human carrier of the bullet that got Pa Alfred Rewane. . But we know these deadly supervisors of death of progressive men and women. They are General Sanni Abacha and Major Hamzat Al Mustapha. I am waiting for Hamzat Al Mustapha to sue me for defamation. I will be in Lagos, Nigeria to answer his call.
So when Justice Augie judicially pronounced Hamzat Al Mustapha innocent one has to go back to history, logic and common sense. The judgment of the Federal Appeal Court panel headed by Hon Justice Amina A. Augie is ridiculous and is inherently flawed from a logical point of view. Since Justice Amina A Augie and her colleagues based their judgment on contradictory statement of prosecution witnesses, it is important for Nigerian taxpayers and citizens to understand what this means.
This is the nature of a contradiction. It is contradictory for me to say yesterday “I saw Bukola at time X” and for me today to say “I did not see Bukọla at time X.” It would then be ridiculous and logically flawed for anyone to claim either of these two sides of a contradiction to be true at the same time. Even though you can pass value judgment on me based on the contradiction in my statement you cannot choose to believe one side of my statement. If you do that as a judge then your judgment becomes political and subjective and this is precisely what Hon Justice Amina A. Augie and her colleagues have done.
Finally, the logic of the conditional is crucial in explaining the guilt of Major Hamzat Al Mustapha. And this is the material structure of that logic. If General Sanni Abacha operated a killing squad, which is true as Nigerians know he did, and Major Hamzat Al Mustapha headed that killing squad which is true as we know he did as the Chief security officer of General Sanni Abacha, and Barnabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt. Rogers), was a member of that killing squad, which is true, and the killing squad murdered all known opponents of General Abacha who were advocates of June 12 1993 election, which is true and Mrs. Kudirat Abiola was an advocate of June 12 1993 election which is true, and Barnabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt. Rogers) a member of the Sanni Abacha killing squad supervised by Major Hamzat Al Mustapha claimed that he murdered Mrs. Kudirat Abiọla which is true, and no member of this squad killed without the instruction of Major Hamzat Al Mustapha for they did this for a living which is true, then Major Hamzat Al Mustapha is guilty of the murder of Mrs. Kudirat Abiọla.
Any simple logic book will inform on the nature of the logic of the conditional and therefore of this statement which explains the guilt of Hamzat Al Mustapha. A conditional statement is an “If … and Then…” statement. It has two components called the antecedent and consequent. The statement(s) in the component that follow(s) the word “Then” is/are the consequent. Statement(s) between “If” and “Then” is/are the antecedent. In logic the assertion is that in any case where the antecedent of a conditional statement is true, then the component is true. For example if I say “If it rains, the ground is wet.” All I need to prove is that it rains for my conditional statement to be true.
I commit this argument to Nigerian citizens, the judges who judicially absolved Major Hamzat Al Mustapha of being a murderer and the whole world. Fortunately, logic is NOT a Nigerian creature so it cannot be corrupted. Were logic a Nigerian creature, it will obviously be vulnerable to corruption. But Logic is a universal knowledge and the nature of any logical statement can be tested universally.
If law rests on statues and logic, then the judgment of Hon Justices Amina A. Augie, Rita N. Pemu, Justice Fatima O. Akinbami, which judicially freed Major Hamzat Al Mustapha, lacks the basic ingredient of logic. Thus, Major Hamzat Al Mustapha may be free politically; he remains guilty before universal moral law strengthened by the universal nature of logic.
Members of my generation who survived and were historically placed to directly witness the evil of the General Sanni Abacha killing squad headed by Major Hamzat Al Mustapha shall continue to inform Nigerian citizens and the world on this until we are eternally called severally because “you shall know and say the truth for the truth shall set you free”.
With this I wait for Major Hamzat Al Mustapha and his lawyers to sue me in a Nigerian court of defamation. We will meet in court.
Adeolu Ademoyo firstname.lastname@example.org is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
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