Kudirat’s murder: S’Court grants LASG request to appeal Al-Mustapha’s acquittal

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted the request of the Lagos State Government to appeal against the acquittal of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, PM News reports.

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on July 12, 2013 acquitted Al-Mustapha of the murder charge.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Walter Onnoghen held that the State’s application for the leave was successful since it was not challenged.

“In the circumstance, the applicant, the Lagos State Government, is granted the leave to appeal the July 12, 2013 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

“The would-be appellant is therefore given 30 days within which to file its notice of appeal.

“The date for the hearing of the appeal shall be fixed upon receipt of this notice by the court,’’ he said.

Earlier, Al-Mustapha’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) withdrew an application against re-opening of the case.

He gave no reason for his decision.

He, however, argued that it was against court rule for the applicant to sleep over its right of appeal for four years.

In her response, counsel to the applicant, Mrs Oluwayemisi Osunsoya, who justified the lateness of the appeal, said that it waited for the report of the state’s review teams on the matter.

She said that it took a long time for the two legal teams to present their findings.

The counsel had urged the court to relax its rule in the interest of justice.

Al-Mustapha, Mohammed Abacha and Lateef Shofolahan were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder of Kudirat, before a Lagos High Court.

In 2012, Justice Moji Dada found the accused guilty as charged, and sentenced them to death by hanging.

However, the accused appealed the sentence, which the Court of Appeal upturned.

It held that the evidence against the accused was not strong enough to warrant the death sentence passed on them.

Kudirat, who was a wife of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, was killed in Lagos on June 4, 1996.

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