Recently released former Chief Security Officer to late Head-of-State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, has challenged ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, to a public debate on any national issue.
Al-Mustapha threw the challenge at the former president while speaking in an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America, monitored in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Al-Mustapha was reacting to the contents of a letter written by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan in which he alleged that snipers were being trained in North Korea. The former president also insinuated that Mr. Jonathan interfered with the court process to set an unnamed murderer free, and organised a presidential reception for him in a veiled reference to Al-Mustapha.
But the former CSO explained that he was not around when Obasanjo’s letter was leaked to the public as he was away in India receiving treatment for injuries he sustained while in detention but that he had read the letter in the media.
In his initial reaction to the letter when it first came out, Al-Mustapha, who spoke through his counsel Barrister Olalekan Ojo dismissed Obasanjo’s allegation as “disturbing, worrisome and unwarranted”.
Al-Mustapha said the former president is aware that he knows Nigeria as much as he (Obasanjo) knows the country. As such, he was ready to face him anywhere in the world to discuss matters relating to Nigeria.
“First of all, he (Obasanjo) did not mention me by name in his letter. Secondly, he knows that I know Nigeria as much as he does, if he has something to tell me, I want him to come out and tell me straight”, Al-Mustapha said.
“He should ask me or challenge me, I challenge him to (discuss) anything about Nigeria that he wants to talk about even long before he became Head-of-State (1976-1979), I am ready to meet him in public anywhere in the world”, he added.
Responding to a specific question on allegations that he was privy to the on-going training of snipers, Al-Mustapha swore that it was all lies.
The former CSO said he is a devout Muslim and has over the years facilitated the recruitment of northerners into the military and para-military agencies; and would therefore never involve himself in anything that would betray the region or bring the North to ridicule.
“Perhaps it is Obasanjo and his cronies that are planning what he was insinuating”, he added.
Al-Mustapha said he had decided to forgive all those who had a hand in his incarceration when he was being tried for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola. He was initially convicted for the murder by a Lagos High Court but was later discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
He, however, added that such people, including Mr. Obasanjo have failed to accept that fact and still harbour fears about him and what he knows about them.
“I urge everyone to pray for Obasanjo to accept my challenge for a public debate so that the truth will come out”, he said.
The former CSO restated his commitment to helping Nigeria find its rhythm by uniting the people, especially the youth and the poor.
“From 1974 to the present, a lot of things are buried with all sorts of lies. But all would be revealed one day”, Al-Mustapha said.