Chief Security Officer to the late General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha who was released last Friday by the Court of Appeal relates his 15-year prison experiences saying he moved from prison to prison and sometimes was placed in solitary confinement.
The apparently jubilant Al-Mustapha who spoke with BBC Hausa Service yesterday revealed that his 15 years in prison were a test of his life…
Last year, a Lagos High Court had sentenced Major Hamza Al-Mustapha to death by hanging in connection with the death of Kudrat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. But on Friday, the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted him, making him a free man once again, after 15 years.
How would you consider the 15 years you spent in prison?
Every Muslim who believes in God will know that one day he may find himself in a very difficult situation. I saw myself in very difficult conditions. I was detained in over 32 places, including KiriKiri. I do not think that any other person has suffered this kind of incarceration in Nigeria. I am the only person that has been treated this way. For five years and two months I was in a solitary prison across different states of the federation. The nine years and seven months I spent in Ikoyi, Kirikiri and the Kuje prison in Abuja were not different.
What will be your relationship with those considered to be behind your ordeal?
God created people differently. And He has different ways of testing individuals. Some people will be tested with positions of leadership, some with wealth, while others will be tested with poverty or illness. We have forgiven those behind this incarceration. This is so because they may have acted out of ignorance. They may have been tested by God and they did not understand what they were doing.
Now that you are free, would you be interested in politics in the future?
No! I am a military man, I am not thinking of politics. I spent 15 years in solitary confinement, so I do not know what is happening in Nigeria presently; I am just a guest. However, only God knows what will happen tomorrow.
What did you learn in prison?
I really learnt many things. I learnt more than what you can imagine. I had the opportunity to understand Nigeria very well. I now understand the country’s justice system, issues of human rights, how some people use the judiciary and power against the poor, the patience of the poor in Nigeria. It was also an opportunity to understand my religion very well.