The Nigerian Army has denied social media reports on the elevation of the former Chief Security Adviser to the late General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al- Mustapha, to the rank of a Brigadier-General.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who made the rebuttal in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, described the report as false and misleading.
Attahiru said there were in-house administrative procedures to be followed on such issues.
Some online portals had been awash with reports of Al-Mustapha’s promotion and expected return to the Army Headquarters today but without a direct attribution to official military or government sources.
But Attahiru urged the public to disregard such information.
He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an erroneous publication being circulated on the internet about the decoration of the former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, with the rank of a Brigadier General following his recent acquittal by the court.
“The Nigerian Army, as a professional force, wishes to state that all administrative procedures are guided by extant administrative rules and regulations such as the Armed Forces of Nigeria Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service, among others.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to advise the media to always cross-check facts before going to the press to avoid misinformation, misrepresentation and sensationalism in its reportage.”
Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, DAPR, Col. John Agim, had on Monday said that Al-Mustapha’s case would be handled by the Army Headquarters Administration.
He said: “With regards to Major Al-Mustapha’s release, well, I want to confirm that he is still in the Army and the case is going to be handled by the Army administration in line with the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service.”
Meanwhile, Al-Mustapha yesterday embarked on a visit to Islamic and religious leaders of various Islamic sects in Kano, apparently to thank them for their prayers and solidarity during his almost 15 years’ incarceration.
During the visit, he called on the Al-furquan Mosque in Nasarawa GRA where the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Bashir Umar, prayed to God to continue to guide and protect Al-Mustapha, while urging him to give all his heart to God who made it possible for him to regain his freedom.
He said: “See all the persecution and tribulation you suffered as the will of Allah. What you should do now is to totally submit yourself to God. Prophet Yusuf had similar trials but at the end he was compensated by Allah with greater position.
“So, try to forget all that has happened to you and forgive whoever must have a hand in it. Allah in His infinity mercy shall surely fulfill all His plans in your life and reward you abundantly.”
Also, the Head of Tijjaniyya Movement in West Africa, Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu, urged Al-Mustapha to surrender his life to God and forgive whoever he believed had offended him. Rabi’u, who is also a business mogul, recalled how the Sani Abacha family tried to ensure that he regained his freedom.
He said: “I am aware of how prayerful Maryam Abacha was. She prayed fervently to ensure that someday, you will be free and we thank Allah that the day has finally come.”
While at Qadiriyyah House in the heart of the city, the leader of the Qadiriyyah Movement, Sheikh Qaribullah Nasiru Kabara, counselled Al- Mustapha on the spirit of forgiveness, adding that he would continue to pray that God grant him good health and the wisdom to succeed in life.