The Supreme Court on Thursday granted leave permitting the Lagos State Government to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal which acquitted Maj. Hamza al-Mustapha (retd.) and Lateef Shofolahan of the murder of Kudirat Abiola.
Both al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha; and Shofolahan were in January 2012 sentenced to death by a Lagos High Court for the murder of the deceased.
But the Court of Appeal in Lagos on July 12, 2013, discharged and acquitted both men through the judgment which the state government had appealed against at the Supreme Court.
The Lagos State Government has since filed a proposed notice of appeal, numbered SC/45/2014, to challenge the judgment of the appeal court.
But the government needed to first obtain the Supreme Court’s leave to proceed with the appeal since it was filed out of the period prescribed by law.
In its judgement on Thursday, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, granted the application for leave to appeal filed by the Lagos State Government.
The court made the order after Al-Mustapha’s lawyer, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), withdrew his earlier objection to the application.
Daudu had, in his objection, urged the court to refuse the application on the ground that the Lagos State Government did not place sufficient materials before the court to justify why it failed to appeal within the prescribed time.
However, after Daudu withdrew his objection on Thursday, the apex court granted the application and ordered the Lagos State Government to file its substantive notice of appeal within 30 days from from Thursday.
The court said it would fix a return date after Lagos filed its paper.