Video Reveals Sgt. Roger's Testimony on Al Mustapha's Killer Squad

2013-12-17
THISDAY Newspaper

Zacheaus Somorin
More facts have emerged on how Sergeant Barnabas Jabila Mshiela, aka Sergeant Rogers, a member of the killer squad allegedly trained and maintained by Major Hamza Al Mustapha the former Chief Security Officer of late General Sani Abacha, on how Mustapha ordered him and others to assassinate Kudirat Abiola, the wife of Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 1993 general election.
Although Mustapha was acquitted of the murder of Mrs. Abiola a few months ago by the Court of Appeal following a 14-year trial, a YouTube video uploaded Monday on the website of online news medium Sahara Reporters, has revealed Sgt. Rogers being cross-examined by lawyers of a commission set up to investigate Mustapha and the Strike Force that he headed.
In the video, Sgt. Rogers, who served as a prosecution witness for the state during Mustapha’s trial, admitted that he had been involved in the assassination of three people.
Excerpts of the cross-examination is shown below:
Counsel: You are not on trial here at all. It is a fact-finding mission. Were you a member of a strike force?
Rogers: From 1994 up till now. Major Al Mustapha was in charge of all security, so he was the head. The Strike Force is a unit of the security. Yes, he has been the head of the strike force department.
Counsel: I will want to assume none of you can undertake assignments without him?
Rogers: No.
Counsel: How many assassinations have you been involved in?
Rogers: I have gone on three assassinations… But let me explain.
Counsel: Yes, you will explain… You took the assignments on the order of Mustapha…
Rogers: Yes sir. I was only involved in one (in which someone was killed).
Counsel: What about the other two:
Rogers: The first was Alex Ibru. The second was Abraham Adesanya.
Counsel: So Mustapha has been lying that he never sent you on any assignment?
Rogers: I am not surprised that he refused to take responsibility because it takes the spirit of a man to take responsibility.
Counsel: From what I hear, you are a Christian…
Rogers: Yes. I said that because of your last response that it takes spirit to take such a responsibility.
Counsel: You knew Rear Admiral Omotewa. He was a famous military man.
Rogers: I don’t know him. I just read in the papers that he was killed. I read about him in the TELL Magazine in which it was said that I was involved in his assassination.
Counsel: You said you had nothing to do with his assassination?
Rogers: No.
Counsel: Do you know if any other unit of the Strike Force had anything to do with that?
Rogers: I don’t know.
Counsel: How many were usually sent by Mustapha to kill Chief X for instance?
Rogers: There are state operations. The Security Department contains different departments. Major Mustapha was the one in charge of all security….so he has the power to send anybody to carry out any assignment.
Counsel: So he had the power to kill anyone?
Rogers: Yes Sir.
Counsel: So Mustapha has treated us to a lot of lies.
Counsel: Sgt. Rogers, permit me to call you that. You were involved in one assassination in which a particular person was killed. But you didn’t tell us who that person is?
Rogers: The person is Alhaja Kudirat Abiola… Excuse me, though I was told not to say it here, but ahh...
Counsel: That’s all right, you don’t have to say it.
Rogers: No, I can talk about it, if you want.
Counsel: Do you know one Lt. Col. Ibrahim Umar, I.S. Umar?
Rogers: Yes I know him very well
Counsel: In what capacity?
Rogers: Umar was the second in command of Strike Force before, but later on he had a problem during the 1997 coup, in which he was invited to the SIP. So at the SIP he had a problem and they released… Do you want me to tell you everything I know about him?
Counsel: Yes please, go ahead.
Rogers: I.S. Umar was our second in command in the Strike Force. He has been a very good officer, but he could not make it while we were in training school. There was a fight among the trainees. We were trained by Israelis. We were trained together but he couldn’t make it so Major Mustapha said we should manage him. So he was managed. Then when we were posted to Abuja, he was always going alone, but sometimes he did not like to take instructions from our Oga, Ikilama.
Counsel: What sort of sentiments was he bringing?
Rogers: The strike comprised all tribes, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Efik, different tribes. It is a lie people have been saying it was only the northerners; it is a lie. But when he was in the strike force, he tried to bring segregation into the Strike Force. So he was being sidelined, that is the truth, they did not give him responsibilities. But we were being called upon and given responsibilities…
Counsel: Lt. Umar testified before the commission that you came to him to sign for a silencer. Is that correct?
Rogers: I am in charge of logistics in the Strike Force. All the logistics in the Strike Force is my responsibility, all the food, ammunition, silencer, weapons, all had to pass through me. So if there was anything that was going out of that place, it must pass through me. So for him to say that I came to ask for a silencer from him, I don’t think he was telling the truth. And the weapons that I used, are factory fitted with silencer, so I did not need a silencer from him.
Counsel: Was he also aware of these assassination?
Rogers: When we came back from the Kudirat assignment, he was a bit disgruntled. Umar now told me: “I don’t have skeletons in my cupboard.” So I asked him what he meant. He said, “Your Oga would like to send you on assignment and won’t tell anybody, but you think I don’t know.” He was trying to infer that I was (I am) very close to Mustapha. But no one was close to Mustapha. May be the closest person to him was his personal security. Also, we never went on assignments alone. We are many and they say three is a crowd. If I keep quiet, Mr. B may not keep quiet.
Counsel: I suppose I will be right to say there were many sub-units in the Strike Force. Apart from the assassination squad to which you belonged, were there others?
Rogers: There is nothing like the assassination squad. Any time there was assignment what they used to tell us was that these people wanted to break this country into two; they are importing arms and ammunition into Nigeria. We would go into the bush searching for arms and ammunition; no food at times. We were doing it wholeheartedly for the sake of Nigeria and we believed them. But later on, when Abacha died, I saw some of those people we were looking for as terrorists, as people who were importing arms and ammunition into Nigeria; as people that they said were inviting terrorists to kill Abacha. We would go and be waiting for them throughout, but we would not see them. We would lay ambush, day and night, and not see them. Though we had contact agents but still not see them. So when Abdulsalam came into power, I saw some of these people again, they came to the Villa and I was surprised. So I met with General Bamayi again who believed I would have run away. But we were expecting to be praised that these are the people that served this country. And Col. Jeb Yakubu told us not to be afraid, that our name will enter a book, that we are the ones that fought for this country, for the unity of the country. It was pathetic but that was the basis for these our operations.
Counsel: You’re now a born again Christian, looking back on all those activities, do you feel any remorse?

 

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