Elder statesman, Chief Ayo Opadokun has lambasted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha for saying that he collected money from Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), days after M.K.O Abiola’s death.
“I was in Ikoyi Prison when Gen. Sani Abacha died. I was released some days thereafter. I was in Lagos – I can remember now. The then deputy American ambassador to Nigeria was going to be sent off to become American ambassador to Sierra Leone. We were then invited for a cocktail in one of the American guest houses in Ikoyi. It was at that place the news filtered in that MKO Abiola had died. For anybody to return home from Ikoyi that day, it was war because of the immediate reaction of the Nigerian people to that wicked act. We had no access to him and we were not in Aso Rock. And, we did not go to the presidential villa the second or the third day as claimed by Al-Mustapha.”
“In August 2011, while Al-Mustapha was still being prosecuted for the murder of the democratic heroine, the martyred Kudirat Abiola, at Lagos High Court, rather than face his criminal prosecution, he claimed that some Yoruba and NADECO leaders had been compromised. He alleged that while they were going into a meeting with Gen. Abdulsalami, they were frowning but when they came out of the meeting, they were laughing because they had been compromised. At that time, I just returned from the United States of America and I interacted with the media a day or two after his accusation and I castigated him. And, as a result of my reaction, two days after, Al-Mustapha recanted. He said he did not say that we collected money from Abdulsalami.”
“That was the situation in 2011. I really don’t know what has got into the head of Al-Mustapha to want to continue to use Yoruba leaders – credible Yoruba leaders – to whitewash his battered, discredited image as a villain, suspected murderer, scoundrel, and a veritable instrument for oppression, humiliation and dehumanisation of democratic struggle leaders. He is now exploiting the democratic space that many of us laid down our lives for, for pernicious purposes. In any decent society, Al-Mustapha will be consigned to the dustbin of history because of his evil acts. Al-Mustapha was not part of that meeting.”
“So, where did Al-Mustapha set up a video camera to record our discussion in which money was given to us? I dare say that his claim is patent falsehood; neither was NADECO offered nor received any money from the government of the day. There was no basis for it.”
“What I was told he exhibited was our entry into the Villa where the meeting was held and then, our exit at the end of the meeting. Since he made the allegation in 2011, six years ago, Al-Mustapha has not shown anybody any video recording. He is an inveterate enemy of Yoruba nation, Al-Mustapha unleashed brutal violence on some Yoruba people – some are dead; few still alive. What is the problem of Al-Mustapha? For Mustapha to say that he was still in control of Aso Rock, he was just over-exaggerating his importance. When his boss (Abacha) died of whatever cause, because Al-Mustapha had been so insolent, insubordinate, unruly, cocky, and disobedient to his military superiors, he was sent out of Aso Rock and posted to Enugu.”
No doubt, the government of Abdulsalami having known him to be a shady character would not have allowed anybody related to Al-Mustapha to remain in Aso Rock. So, for him to claim that his boys were still there to record a video was patent falsehood – just to make himself look important. I am sorry for those associating with him.”
“I am also sorry that the Nigerian state has degenerated to the extent that Al-Mustapha is being listened to and given attention. I can’t understand how he got all the money he is spending all around except for the fact that, according to inside stories, he caged his boss by falsehood. He would tell Abacha that either Great Britain or America had arrived with some mercenaries who were stationed around Abuja and so Abacha must not go out for the next one week. Therefore, certain things (security measures) must be done. Through that process he would bring up bills. On a regular basis, he and his cohorts were receiving money from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“I have never met Al-Mustapha in my life. I think he’s just looking for somebody that is credible, who has remained constant in his stance against injustice and corruption to defame. That’s all; there is nothing besides that. Every effort by some people to make me part of the government was rejected by me. I can tell you this: it was because, while I was underground in 1994 – I went underground in May. Precisely August 15, 1994, a call came through to me by a senior colleague, former Governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Lar, who was then minister of police affairs. He was with Abacha and Gen. (Jeremiah) Useni. Lar accused me of preventing leaders of the National Democratic Coalition to hold a meeting with the commander-in-chief. I told him that could not be true. I didn’t have the power to stop the brilliant minds who were part of NADECO to respond to Abacha’s call.”
“Lar asked me if I could persuade NADECO leaders on his behalf, promising that nothing will happen to me. I told him that it wasn’t a personal matter. It was a national affair; I learnt an instruction was given to the national intelligence and security to produce me dead or alive. He succeeded in arresting me on October 11, 1994. I was detained for 24 months before I was re-arrested in 1998. I think Al-Mustapha’s prolonged stay in detention has had significant, negative, medical effect on him and his state of mind.”
“I think he suffers from some measure of hallucination. He’s just seeking attention to make himself relevant. He was responsible for his prolonged stay in prison. He didn’t want to be tried under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime.”
“If Al-Mustapha does not retract his statement within seven days I will instruct my lawyers to go to court and file a libel suit against him. Al-Mustapha must produce that video tape. He is behaving ignobly and acting without restraint. He is now collaborating with MASSOB leader, Ralph Nwazurike, using such platform to defame the hard-earned reputation of people like us. I will not take it anymore. Remember he also made a wicked and baseless claim that he has video recording of how Abiola was killed. He has yet to show anybody any evidence of that. Mustapha will need to explain the circumstances that led to henchmen hitting at key elements in our society, particularly from Yoruba land.
– Culled from The Punch