Fatima Al-Mustapha is the 24-year-old daughter of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha who was incarcerated for 10 years over the murder of Kudirat Abiola. In a chat with Sun, she recounts how she and her siblings suffered discrimination and were stigmatized in school. She said parents told their mates to stay away from them, adding that she resolved to study law to free her dad.
“My mum tried so hard to hide it from us. But then we saw it in the newspapers…saw picturesof him climbing the Black Maria and all that. I confronted her and she was forced to let out the truth. I was inconsolable.”
“Going to school was difficult, because your erstwhile friends and school mates were told not to talk to you; and parents withdrew their kids from some activities because we (Al-Mustapha’s children) were participating. Then you had some people (armed) following us about.”…
She said despite everything, she occupied herself with how to get her dad freed,
“It was more of a passion to get daddy back. As a child, I just couldn’t get over seeing his pictures in Black Maria. I figured how to get him out. But the real encouragement actually came from one of my teachers who said only a lawyer can get him released. She explained that lawyers were people who go to court and argue cases before the judge and that based on the merit of the case, the judge can set him free. That was why I decided I would be a lawyer. You know when you have a passion for something; you don’t see any hindrances or difficulty.”
However, Fatima who holds LLB (2011) and LLM (2012) degrees from the University of Nicofia, Cyprus and International School of Maritime law, Malta, respectively was not in the team which got Al-Mustapha his freedom on July 12, 2013 in a judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal, Lagos. She is one of the students who passed the Final Bar examination of the Nigerian Law School Abuja last month and will be called to the bar in December.
She said she won’t be joining her father’s defence team in the case which has been taken before the Supreme Court after Lagos State appealed the appellate court’s verdict.