The trial of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd), continued yesterday at an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, with the former driver to Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, son of late General Sani Abacha, giving graphic details of how he and other members of late Abacha’s Strike Force killed late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of late Chief M.K.O. Abiola in 1996 in Lagos.
Mohammed Abdul (a.k.a Katako), who was giving evidence as prosecution witness, also told the court how members of the killer squad failed in their attempt to assassinate the publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr Alex Ibru, and Afenifere leader, Senator Abraham Adesanya. The two men alongside Kudirat were considered enemies of the state during Abacha’s regime.
General Bamaiyi is facing trial on a four-count charge of conspiracy and attempted murder of Ibru.
The prosecution witness in his evidence-in-chief narrated how late Kudira Abiola’s personal assistant, Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, gave his boss away.
He also said Shofolahan identified the houses of other personalities who had been marked for elimination. The witness also traced the movement of the team in its murderous mission that took them to the Lagos residences of Lt. General Bamaiyi; Mr James Danbaba, former Lagos State police commissioner and the office of Lt. Col. Jibrin Bala Yakubu, former Zamfara State military administrator.
He further told the court how Mohammed Abacha gave him and another member of the Strike Force, 10,000 dollars each to flee the country when investigations commenced during Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration on the various political assassinations in the country.
Bamaiyi, Danbaba, Al-Mustapha, Yakubu and Rabo Lawal were all charged to a Lagos High Court in 2000 for the same offence but as the case dragged on for too long, General Bamaiyi applied for a separate trial last month and was granted.
Led in evidence yesterday by Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, Mohammed Abdul’s testimony ran thus: “I finished primary school. but I did not finish secondary school, I left in 1991. Then I started working with SETCO owned by late Ibrahim Abacha first son of late General Sanni Abacha. In 1994, I was attached to the body guards of the Head of State as a driver and worked till January 1996. After 1996 I then worked with Alhaji Mohammed Abacha also as a driver.
“Sometime in 1996 Alhaji Mohammed Abacha called me and directed me to go to the State House, Dodan Barracks that some people from Abuja would be coming to Lagos. I met four of them there led by CSP Rabo Lawal. Sergeant Rogers was also there. I was then given a car key to a 504 saloon car. Sumaila Shuaibu was driving the 505 car while I drove the 504. We went to the National Theatre where we met Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan (Kudirat Abiola’s PA) who took us to Festac town where he pointed at one house. From there, we went to Surulere and then to Mr James Danbaba’s house. Rabo Lawal asked from the security men if the CP was in, before he went inside and spent sometime there. We then went back to Dodan Barracks. In the evening Alhaji Lateef came to meet us at Doddan Barracks and together we went to Victoria Island where Alhaji Lateef pointed a house to Rabo Lawal who was in the same car with him. From V.I. we went to Surulere and then to Igbosere Road. Alhaji Lateef then went inside one storey building on a street near Igbosere close to Sura market”.