The convicts in the murder of Kudirat Abiola, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Alhaji Lateef Sofolahan will today file a stay of execution of their sentence at the Lagos High Court pending the determination of their appeal.
Both men were on Monday found guilty by Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court for conspiring to murder and the actual murder of Kudirat on June 4, 1996.The judge sentenced the men to death by hanging.
But the counsel to the convicts, Olalekan Ojo who had already filed a notice of appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, told LEADERSHIP that he would today be filing the stay of execution of the order for his clients to be hanged until the appeal is determined. Ojo said he would be doing this out of the abundance of caution.
Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan had argued in their notices of appeal filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Olalekan Ojo that Justice Dada erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they? killed Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996.
While Al-Mustapha’s appeal was anchored on four grounds, that of his co-convict (Shofolahan) was hinged on five grounds.
In ground one, Al-Mustapha submitted that the lower court erred in law by holding that the contradictions in the evidence of Banabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt Rogers) and Mohammed Abdul (a.k.a Katako) were immaterial, when the same judge had earlier held that both Sgt Rogers and Katako recanted their evidence in chief under cross-examination, and also when the prosecution had conceded in its final address that the two key witnesses were not credible having repudiated their earlier evidence.
The appellants (Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan) stated that the mere fact that Katako who earlier said that he drove the car that was used to trail Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996, but later repudiated by saying that he was not in Lagos on that? day of her murder as he was in his village in Azare, Bauchi State for the marriage of his first wife, and was there for another three weeks, was enough ground for the court not to rely on the earlier evidence.