16 February 2013

Nigeria: Appeal Court to Hear Al-Mustapha, Shofolahan Appeal On Death Sentence

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, yesterday, adjourned till April 29, to hear the appeal by former Chief Security Officer to late General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, and former Personal Assistant to late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Lateef Shofolahan, challenging the death sentence handed them by a Lagos High Court.

The lower court on January 30, 2012, convicted them on a charge of Masterminding the murder of late Mrs Kudirat Abiola.

The appellate court, yesterday, adjourned for hearing, after counsel to the convicts applied for the regularization of their briefs of argument.

The convicts had applied for leave to file their brief of arguments, which they served on the respondent.

Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan, were arraigned in October 1999, on a four-count charge of "conspiracy and killing of Alhaja Abiola on June 4, 1996 on the Lagos/ Ibadan expressway.

The lower court found them guilty of the offence and convicted and sentenced them to death by hanging.

The appellants are contending that the death sentence handed by the lower court was unwarranted, unreasonable and a manifest miscarriage of justice, adding that the trial judge erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they conspired to kill Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996.

The appellants are further praying the court hear the appeal, set aside the judgment, and discharge them of the charges of conspiracy and murder.

They faulted the judge in the treatment of the contradictory statements of Barnabas Jabila (aka Sgt. Rogers) and Mohmamed Abdul, as well as the reliance on the testimony of Dr. Ore Falomo on the bullet extracted from Late Kudirat.

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