Posted by By Innocent Anaba on
Justice Daniel Abutu of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday threatened to move the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha
Justice Daniel Abutu of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday threatened to move the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, who is standing trial alongside two others, over their alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow President Olusegun Obasanjo to prison custody, if government does not allow them (accused persons) access to their counsel.
Mustapha is standing trial alongside Lt. Col Mohammed Umar Adeka and Onwuchekwe Okorie, and they are presently being detained at the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Lagos.
The court handed down the warning following complaint by counsel to the accused persons, that government is secretly video recording their consultation with the accused persons.
Justice Abutu in a short ruling following the complaint said, "the accused persons have on several occasions complained of their inability to meet with their counsel since the accused persons were charged to court. If the accused persons complain again of their not being able to meet their counsel or the confidentiality of their seeing their counsel is not guaranteed, and the court is satisfied with the complaint, the court will consider the option of moving them (accused persons) to prison custody".
Mustapha’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo had in a petition to the Director of State Security Service (SSS), the court, DMI and prosecution said: "Mustapha informed us that he has recently discovered that the room where he meets his counsel at the SSS office on Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos for the purpose of having necessary deliberations, consultations and preparation for the conduct of his cases has been heavily bugged with electronic eavesdropping, video recording and other espionage devices aimed at secretly recording or wire-tapping his discussion with his counsel".
The petition added: "Specifically, he informed us that on May 12, 2005, while having necessary consultations at the said meeting room at the office of SSS, he discovered some miniature video recording devices planted in the sockets on the wall of the room. He also discovered on the same day, an electronic eavesdropping device planted under the settee on which he sat".
Okorie’s counsel, Allens Agbaka, in another petition to the DMI also complained that he was not allowed access to his client, despite the repeated warning of the court.
Meanwhile, Colonel Adekunle Martins, Director of Armoury Ordinance Corp, Surulere, Lagos, told the court under cross-examination that he made his statement to the prosecuting counsel in Lagos, but could not remember the exact date and location.
He further said he did not attend the purported Special Investigation Panel (SIP), that investigated the alleged treason matter, and was neither contacted by the said SIP, nor did he meet the members of the panel at anytime.
On the alleged Stinger Missile, purportedly procured by the accused persons for the alleged plot to shot down the President’s place, he said he has never operated the said missile, but that it is not too difficult to operate, as an armed robber can operate it after a few hours of familiarisation with the said missile.