Maj. Hamza al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha has being made to retire by force.
According to a military source, this was necessitated due to his unavailability in the Army for a period of over 14 years, while he was away to face trial for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, a wife of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
Following Abacha’s death on June 8, 1998, Al-Mustapha was arrested in October of the same year for the murder of Kudirat, an offence for which he was tried for 14 years.
The Federal Government also pressed other charges which did not succeed against Al-Mustapha during the period.
He was subsequently sentenced to death for Kudirat’s murder by a Lagos High Court in Igbosere on January 30, 2012, but he was discharged and acquitted on July 12, 2013 by a superior judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos.
But his letter of compulsory retirement indicated that the Army Council took the decision to force him out of service at its meeting held on August 5, 2013, more than a year after the Court of Appeal acquitted him.
The letter is reportedly dated July 14, 2014 and it put the period the former Head of State’s CSO was in the army at 33 years and 11 days.
It further indicated that the decision of the Army Council to retire him was based on the provisions of Paragraph 09.02(c)(5) of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Nigerian Armed Forces 2012 (Revised).
The reason for his compulsory retirement, “undeployability arising from restructuring and/or lack of establishment,” is the fifth in the list of nine conditions as stated in the law which the Army Council can based such a decision on.
The letter with reference number, AHQ MS/G1/300/226, commended him for demonstrating “good conduct in the discharge of your duties” throughout his service in the army.
The letter partly read, “You are authorised to retain your substantive rank of Major. You are also entitled to gratuity and pension as well as Certificate of Military Service and Retired Officers’ Identity Card.
“You are entitled to your ceremonial dress, service dress and mess kit. However, you should wear uniforms corresponding to your rank at the time of retirement only when you are invited for military ceremonies; military weddings; memorial services of National Day celebration and Regimental dinners.”