Retired Justice James Ogebe, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, has over the weekend said that the late ruler, General Sani Abacha did all he could to make the judiciary deny the bail suit filed by the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola.
Justice Ogebe disclosed this during the launching of his book to celebrate his 80th birthday. He said Abacha approached the Court of Appeal and asked them to dismiss the bail application of late Abiola, who was jailed for declaring himself president-elect of the country.
The book, which has the detailed autobiography of the octogenarian, is titled “Justice under the Shadow of the Almighty; My Life Sojourn to the Nigerian Supreme Court.”
The 1993 election was alleged to have been won by Abiola but the former military President, Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election.
In June 1994 at Epetedo area of Lagos Island, the businessman, Abiola, was arrested after he has declared himself president-elect.
He later died on July 8, 1998 while in detention
In the book, the retired Supreme Court Justice said after a panel of justices of the appellate court has been set to hear the bail application including himself, they met and concluded that Abiola deserves a bail. In a bid to reverse the ruling, the late head of state, Abacha extended the compulsory retirement of Supreme Court Justice from 65 to 70years.
He said he decided to frustrate the hearing of the appeal brought by late Abiola against his incarceration by the military junta.
He further stated that General Sani Abacha was not happy because of his decision but decided to file an appeal before the Supreme Court. However, because some Justice of the Supreme Court had a libel lawsuit against Concord Newspaper owned by Abiola, they could not form a quorum, which hindered the appeal from being heard.
He said, “There was a stalemate because of the shortage of Supreme Court Justices.