By Yemi Adebowale
Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), who was handpicked by the Abacha regime as a member of the kangaroo tribunal that sentenced renowned environmentalist and minority rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa to death by hanging, was on Thursday named by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
A statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina confirmed the appointment alongside the following:
Babachir David Lawal – Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Abba Kyari – Chief of Staff to the President
Kure Martin Abeshi – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service
Senator Ita S.J. Enang – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate)
Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives)
The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998 under the despotic regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
Reacting to the cold-blooded murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni indigenes, Col. Ali said he had no regrets over his role in the judicial process that led to Saro Wiwa’s execution.
The Abacha regime set up the Tribunal after falsely accusing Saro-Wiwa of orchestrating the death of four Ogoni elders. After prolonged abuse, torture and intimidation of Mr. Wiwa’s counsel by the Abacha regime, the panel sentenced Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists to death by hanging for a crime they never committed.
The Abacha regime swiftly ratified the Tribunal’s verdict and thereafter murdered Saro-Wiwa and the eight activists before the period allowed for an appeal had elapsed. This happened in defiance of calls by the international community, particularly groups like Amnesty International for their lives to be spared.
The bodies of the executed men were subsequently dissolved in sulphuric acid.
Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), Buhari’s newly appointed head of Customs is 60 years old.