Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was a pro-democracy campaigner and wife of MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of Nigeria presidential election held on June 12, 1993.
On 4 June, 1996, she was assassinated whilst the Nigerian Government was detaining her husband, Moshood Abiola.
Mrs. Abiola was brutally felled by assassin’s bullets very close to the Lagos-Ibadan Express toll gate as she was being driven in her Mercedes-Benz around 7-Up Depot/Bus Stop in Ikeja.
Late General Sani Abacha’s boy, Hamzat Al-Mustapha and others were being tried for the politically motivated murder.
Kudirat’s husband was believed to have been the winning candidate in the Nigerian presidential election that had taken place in 1993. He was arrested shortly after they were annulled by the government of the dictator Ibrahim Babangida.
The killing was the subject of an investigation and trial many years later. According to accounts, the murder was ordered and then carried out by six men. Abiola died in her Mercedes Benz from machine gun fire. Her driver also died. Her personal assistant, who was later accused of being involved with her assassins, was in the car but was not hurt.
Her husband continued to be detained without charge after her death. He died in suspicious circumstances just before it was said that he was to be released on 7 July 1998.
In October 1998 Major Hamza Al-Mustapha appeared in court with the previous President Abacha’s son Mohammed, charged with the murder of Kudirat Abiola. At the trial the self-confessed killer, Sergeant Barnabas Jabila, said he was obeying orders from his superior, al-Mustapha.
On 30 June 2012 Hamza Al-Mustapha and Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan were sentenced to be hanged for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. Al Mustapha had been a Presidential Chief security officer whilst Shofolahan had been his victim’s personal assistant. The two were later released on appeal by a court in Lagos.
At the time of her death an anti-military rule “Radio Democracy” had just been created and it was based in Norway. It was backed by the American, British, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian governments to help end military dictatorship in Nigeria. The Radio station’s name was changed to Radio Kudirat.
In 1998 a street corner in New York was renamed Kudirat Abiola Corner, despite protests by the Nigerian Government.