Justice Centus Chima Nweze of the Supreme Court withdrew yesterday from a panel set up by the court to hear an appeal by the Lagos State Government against the judgment of the Court of Appeal acquitting former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Maj. Hamza al-Mustapha.
Justice Nweze announced his withdrawal yesterday when the appeal was called.
He reminded lawyers in the case that he had participated in the hearing of the appeal by al-Mustapha at the Court of Appeal, Lagos division.
The judge, who said he actively participated in the hearing of the appeal at the lower court, added that he, at some point, presided over the hearing of the case at the appeal court before another panel of the same court took over.
Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, who presided over proceedings yesterday, ruled that, in view of the information by Justice Nweze, he would be excluded from the case forthwith.
He adjourned to January 12, 2016.
Al-mustapha and an aide to the late MKO Abiola, Lateef Sofolahan were tried before the Lagos High Court over the murder of Kudirat Abiola (the late Abiola’s wife) on June 4, 1996.
Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan were in January 2012 sentenced to death by a Lagos High Court for the murder.
Upon an appeal, the Court of Appeal in Lagos, on July 12, 2013, discharged and acquitted them, a decision the Lagos State Government is challenging at the Supreme Court