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KUDIRAT ABIOLA’S MURDER: LAGOS APPEALS TO SUPREME COURT

Hamza al-Mustapha, suspect in the case
Hamza al-Mustapha, suspect in the case

The Lagos State Government said today that it has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgments delivered by the Appeal Court in favour of Major Hamzat Al-Mustapha and Lateef Shofolahan in the murder case of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

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The Appeal Court few weeks ago upturned the  judgment of the High Court of Lagos which passed death sentence on Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan.

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While addressing a press conference this morning , Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye said the state government formally filed appeal at the Supreme Court on Monday against the two judgments delivered by the Appeal Court adding  that the government had indeed studied the two judgments delivered by the Appeal Court very closely and concluded that there were grounds for appeal, which made the government to formally filed the appeal at the apex court.

“Having fully reviewed the decisions of the respected Justices of the Court of Appeal, it is our humble view there are strong bases for appeal which the Supreme Court of Nigeria should have an opportunity to consider,” Ipaye said.

The Attorney General said this step the government was taken would also ensure that all issues were fully articulated and that the victim’s family, the defendants and the society were not deprived of the last window of opportunity provided by the constitution for the resolution of the case.

The commissioner added that government was committed to ensuring that law abiding residents and visitors continued to live, work and pursue their various aspirations in a safe and secured environment. Ipaye also responded to the Amnesty International Report on Badia East area of Lagos, saying that despite contrary suggestions in the report, the government was committed to the welfare of its residents and the protection of their rights.

He stated that while government was in the process of organizing assistance for affected persons on humanitarian grounds, the public should be reminded that rights come with responsibilities and that it should not be assumed that anyone could set up residence anywhere without necessary approval and compliance with planning and public health laws.

“Illegal settlements, unapproved buildings and unsanitary conditions cannot be justified as these may end up in painful evictions or demolitions. The particular area which was subject of Amnesty International report is a part of the Badia settlement which was earlier cleared of all structures in 2003. It was in fact, a swampy strip and the least built up of the entire community.

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“Unfortunately, government was unable to immediately redevelop the area. It was subsequently filled up with refuse, having been used as a refuse dump since it was cleared. A few plank and shanty structures were put up there which grew gradually into a small community characterized by all the negative features of urban slum settlement, including unstructured shelter arrangements, regular flooding, unhealthy environment, insecurity and people engage in all sorts of nefarious activities,” he explained. He added that government had to retake possession of the land to build 1,008 estate, saying that before the retaining of possession of the slum, government had held several meetings with stakeholders in the area and that it was agreed that the illegality in the area must not be allowed to continue.

Ipaye said government was currently in the process of ascertaining the persons actually affected by this project with a view to assisting them, stressing that while such effort was ongoing, “we need to stress that we have a limitation, in that we cannot make that s standard procedure.

“Because of limited means and various competing interests, government does not have the resources to guarantee payment to any person that puts up an unapproved building on land to which he or she is not entitled.”

He added that “while we are mindful of the need to discourage such practices, obviously, once government begins to pay for illegal developments, it will have to do so in all other cases. As a responsive government, we will continue to make and implement policies that positively affect the lives of our citizenry and fulfil our electoral promises while managing the impact on persons who may be adversely affected by the process.”

 

 

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