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Discarding The Apple Myth; The Real Story Behind Gen. Abacha’s Death

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Abacha

By Hamza al-Mustapha

Contrary to insinuations, speculations and sad rumours initiated by some sections of the society, I maintain that the sudden collapse of the health system of the late Head of State started previous day (Sunday, 7th June, 1998) right from the Abuja International Airport immediately after one of the white security operatives or personnel who accompanied President Yasser Arafat of Palestine shook hands with him (General Abacha) I had noticed the change in the countenance of the late Commander-in-Chief and informed the Aide-de-Camp, Lt. Col. Abdallah, accordingly.

He, however, advised that we keep a close watch on the Head of State.

Later in the evening of 8th June, 1998, around 6p.m; his doctor came around, administered an injection to stabilize him. He was advised to have a short rest.

Happily, enough, by 9p.m; the Head of State was bouncing and receiving visitors until much later when General Jeremiah Timbut Useni, the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, came calling. He was fond of the Head of State. They were very good friends.

They stayed and chatted together till about 3.35a.m. A friend of the house was with me in my office and as he was bidding me farewell, he came back to inform me that the FCT Minister, General Useni was out of the Head of State’s Guest House within the Villa.

I then decided to inform the ADC and other security boys that I would be on my way home to prepare for the early morning event at the International Conference Centre.

At about 5a.m; the security guards ran to my quarters to inform me that the Head of State was very unstable.

At first, I thought it was a coup attempt. Immediately, I prepared myself fully for any eventuality.

As an intelligence officer and the Chief Security Officer to the Head of State for that matter, I devised a means of diverting the attention of the security boys from my escape route by asking my wife to continue chatting with them at the door – she was in the house while the boys were outside. From there, I got to the Guest House of the Head of State before them.

When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation on ground, I knelt close to him and shouted, “General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.” I again knocked at the stool beside the bed and shouted in the same manner, yet he did not respond. I then realized there was a serious danger.

I immediately called the Head of State’s personal physician, Dr. Wali, who arrived the place under eight minutes from his house.

He immediately gave Oga – General Abacha – two doses of injection, one at the heart and another close to his neck. This did not work apparently as the Head of State had turned very cold. He then told me that the Head of State was dead and nothing could be done after all.

I there and then asked the personal physician to remain with the dead body while I dashed home to be fully prepared for the problems that might arise from the incident. As soon as I informed my wife, she collapsed and burst into tears. I secured my house and then ran back.

At that point, the Aide-de-Camp had been contacted by me and we decided that great caution must be taken in handling the grave situation.

Again, I must reiterate that the issue of my Boss dying on top of women was a great lie just as the insinuation that General Sani Abacha ate and died of poisoned apples was equally a wicked lie. My question is: did Chief M.K.O Abiola die of poisoned apples or did he die on top of women? As I had stated at the Oputa Panel, their deaths were organized.

Pure and simple! It was at this point that I used our special communication gadgets to diplomatically invite the Service Chiefs, Military Governors and some few elements purportedly to a meeting with the Head of State by 9a.m. at the Council Chamber.

That completed, I also decided to talk to some former leaders of the nation to inform them that General Sani Abacha would like to meet them by 9a.m.

Situation became charged however, when one of the Service Chiefs, Lieutenant General Ishaya Rizi Bamaiyi, who pretended to be with us, suggested he be made the new Head of State after we had quietly informed him of the death of General Sani Abacha.

He even suggested we should allow him access to Chief Abiola. We smelt a rat and other heads of security agencies, on hearing this, advised I move Chief Abiola to a safer destination. I managed to do this in spite of the fact that I had been terribly overwhelmed with the crisis at hand.

But then, when some junior officers over-heard the suggestion of one of the Service Chiefs earlier mentioned, it was suggested to me that we should finish all the members of the Provisional Ruling Council and give the general public an excuse that there was a meeting of the PRC during which a shoot-out occurred between some members of the Provisional Ruling Council and the Body Guards to the Head of State When I sensed that we would be contending with far more delicate issues than the one on ground, I talked to Generals Buba Marwa and Ibrahim Sabo who both promptly advised us – the junior officers – against any bloodshed.

They advised we contact General Ibrahim Babangida (former Military President) who equally advised against any bloodshed but that we should support the most senior officer in the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) to be the new Head of State.

Since the words of our elders are words of wisdom, we agreed to support General Jeremiah Useni. Along the line, General Bamaiyi lampooned me saying, “Can’t you put two and two together to be four? Has it not occurred to you that General Useni who was the last man with the Head of State might have poisoned him, knowing full well that he was the most senior officer in the PRC?”

Naturally, I became furious with General Useni since General Abacha’s family had earlier on complained severally about the closeness of the two Generals; at that, a decision was taken to storm General Useni’s house with almost a battalion of soldiers to effect his arrest.

Again, some heads of security units and agencies, including my wife, advised against the move.

The next most senior person and officer in government was General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was then the Chief of Defence Staff.

We rejected the other Service Chief, who, we believed, was too ambitious and destructive. We settled for General Abubakar and about six of us called him inside a room in the Head of State’s residence to break the news of the death of General Abacha to him.

As a General with vast experience, Abdulsalami Abubakar, humbly requested to see and pray for the soul of General Abacha which we allowed.

Do we consider this a mistake? Because right there, he – Abubakar – went and sat on the seat of the late Head of State. Again, I was very furious. Like I said at the Oputa Panel, if caution was not applied, I would have gunned him down.

The revolution the boys were yearning for would have started right there. The assumption that we could not have succeeded in the revolution was a blatant lie. We were in full control of the State House and the Brigade of Guards. We had loyal troops in Keffi and in some other areas surrounding the seat of government – Abuja.

But I allowed peace to reign because we believed it would create further crises in the country.

We followed the advice of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and the wise counsel of some loyal senior officers and jointly agreed that General Abdulsalami Abubakar be installed Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces immediately after the burial of General Sani Abacha in Kano.

It is an irony of history that the same Service Chief who wanted to be Head of State through bloodshed, later instigated the new members of the Provisional Ruling Council against us and branded us killers, termites and all sorts of hopeless names.

They planned, arranged our arrest, intimidation and subsequent jungle trial in 1998 and 1999. These, of course, led to our terrible condition in several prisons and places of confinement.

— Hamza al-Mustapha was the Chief Security Officer of General Sani Abacha

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kelvin Agbogidi

    December 2, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Abacha’s death was a divine arrangement, whether they call it an in-house plan or whatever I don’t care.

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Politics

How I Spent N38.8bn Security Votes In 8 Years — Ex-Abia Gov, TA Orji

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Theodore Orji

A former Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji has furnished the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with details of how he spent his N38.8billion security votes during his eight years in office.

Orji who was in charge of the state between 2007 and 2015 is being investigated by the anti-graft commission for corruption.

He said he collected N38.8billion as security votes during the period and not N48billion as alleged by the EFCC.

Orji who is currently representing Abia Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly said he shared much of the N38billion with members of the state House of Assembly, his security informants and traditional rulers.

He claimed to have also given part of the money to military units,the police,the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and security agencies as what he called statutory allocations.

In a tell-it-all statement to his interrogators, the former governor said he gave successive members of the State House of Assembly N5. 760billion, at N60million per month, in the eight years.

He also claimed to have paid N75million monthly to security informants in 15 of the 17 local government areas of the state within the same period.

The yet-to-be identified informants allegedly pocketed a total of N7.200billion between 2007 and 2015.

Some of the security agencies, according to him, received N2million per month.

However, he told the interrogators that he does not have a comprehensive list of all the beneficiaries of the largesse because the Government House staff who used to disburse the cash is no more.

He gave the man’s name simply as Felix.

Orji said he did not ask for the list from Felix at the expiration of his tenure as governor.

He only issued directives to Felix on how to share the security votes.

He also said he never collected cash either from the Director of Finance or the Cashier in Government House.

The EFCC insists that Orji collected N48billion in eight years.

It has retrieved five huge bags of documents from the relevant desks in Abia State on the ex-governor’s financial transactions.

Based on Orji’s confessions, the EFCC is expected to arraign him in court soon being in what a source described as “a straightforward case.”

The Nation gathered that the former governor made the revelations during a session on oath in the presence of his lawyer, who he referred to as Edmund.

It was the first time Orji would open up after many years of trying to make him respond to allegations against him.

Orji said he received N370million monthly as security votes in 2007 and N410million monthly from 2008 to 2015.

He said that from his assumption of office up to his exit the funds were distributed in cash. “There were also statutory funds to the security agencies,” he was quoted as saying.

He said the first Speaker in 2007 and the last Speaker in his second term confirmed the receipt of N60million monthly from his security votes.

He said the Majority Leader also attested to the receipt of the monthly cash although he claimed he did not know “ how they shared the money.”

He could not explain what the monthly cash to the lawmakers was meant for or remember the exact amount he was giving the traditional rulers monthly.

Orji admitted that all disbursements by the late Felix were based on his directives.

Usually, according to him, the funds were brought by the Director of Finance (DF)in batches.

The DF would then inform the ex-governor on how much had come and would then be kept in the accounts.

Orji would, in turn, issue directive to the late Felix on what to disburse and to whom.

He was quoted as saying “Felix comes to show me how disbursement is made. After disbursement, Felix keeps the list for safety. As I was leaving the Government House, I didn’t ask him for the list.”

He claimed that he never personally collected any cash from the votes whether from the Director of Finance or Government House cashier.

The funds were channelled through Felix “on my directives,” he said.

The EFCC is still working on the charges against Orji.

But a reliable source told The Nation that investigation had “reached an appreciable stage for trial.”

Continuing, the source said: “We have been on this case since March 2017. Our operatives were painstaking in cracking this case.

“We will arraign ex-governor in court any time from now because the charges are ready. The only challenge is COVID-19 but we won’t allow it to affect the arraignment.

“In the face of the law, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court. The onus is on him to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did not commit the financial recklessness.”

The source said the use of security votes was the first leg of the ongoing probe of Senator Theodore Orji.

The former governor has been under investigation since November 22, 2018 following a petition from a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group

In the March 17, 2017 petition, the group alleged that Orji received and diverted various sums of monies that accrued to Abia State while in office.

The breakdown of the amounts allegedly received by him are as follows:

  • N383 billion revenue from federation accounts
  • N55 billion Excess Crude Revenue
  • N2.3 billion Sure – P
  • N1.8 billion Ecological funds
  • N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs.
  • N4 billion Loan from Diamond Bank
  • N12 billion Paris Club refund
  • N2 billion Agricultural loan for farmers
  • N55 billion ASOPADEC.

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Court Orders Atiku To Pay Trader N5 MILLION For Using Her Photo For Advert

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Atiku

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his Campaign Director, Dr Bukola Saraki, to pay N5million in damages to a Lagos trader, Amuda Adeleke, for unauthorised use of her photo on their campaign billboard.

In a suit marked FHC/L/CS/19, Adeleke had told the court that the defendants used her photograph on their campaign billboard without her consent.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, however awarded N5 million to the trader, to be jointly paid by Atiku, Saraki, the PDP and Peter Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate in the poll, The Nation reports.

The trader said this caused her embarrassment and she prayed the court to award N45m against the defendants for infringing on her fundamental right to privacy as enshrined, in the 1999 Constitution.

But after entering judgment in her favour, Justice Faji awarded N5m against the defendants.

In the suit, Adeleke explained that in December 2018, during the build-up to the 2019 general elections, agents of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, led by Saraki, came to Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos to campaign for Atiku and his running mate, Obi.

She said Saraki and his team engaged people on the street, including herself.

Adeleke said she saw members of the campaign train taking photographs during the engagement with the crowd and she thought it was merely to preserve the memory of the event.

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I Oppose Buhari Based On Principle — Fani-Kayode

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femi fani-kayode

Former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said yesterday that he opposed President Muhammadu Buhari’s style based on principle and conviction.

He said that he could not keep mute in the face of the “dark and sinister forces” represented by the administration.

Fani-Kayode, a defector from the All Progressives Congress (APC), said his constant criticisms of the President in the last five years were driven by “the atrocities of herdsmen and Boko Haram, and the tyranny, wickedness, evil, corruption and incompetence of the regime.”

He noted that he had been “humiliated, persecuted, incarcerated and insulted” than most people in the country due to his unrelenting opposition to the Federal Government.

The former minister, who is undergoing trial for alleged corruption, lamented that Nigerians ignored his advice to reject President Buhari at the polls in 2015, saying that they repeated the same mistake by re-electing him in 2019.

Fani-Kayode, son of the controversial former Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) stalwart and Deputy Premier of defunct Western Region, the late Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, said in a statement in Lagos that he chose to speak for the oppressed members of the society.

Noting that his principled position is risky, he said he took pride in exposing and doing damage to the evil forces more than any citizen.

Fani-Kayode said: “I have also spoken up for the weak, the poor, the oppressed, the deprived, the voiceless and the persecuted across ethnic, religious and party lines.

“And I have done all this right under the noses of those in power and not from distant shores or foreign land. That does not, however, mean that I have lost my humanity. That does not mean that I will relish in anyone’s death.

“That does not mean that I will dance on the grave of others because death comes to us all and doing so diminishes us as human beings and makes us little better than beasts.

He added: “For the last 30 years I have written and spoken out against the atrocities and the hegemony that the people of the South and the Middle Belt and the Christian community have suffered in the hands of our collective oppressors since 1914 and over the last 106 years.”

The former minister spoke on past injustices that have not been redressed, stressing that Southeast continued to count the cost of the 30-month old civil war.

He said: “I have also consistently argued that the people of the Southeast were subjected to nothing less than genocide during the civil war and that if we really want peace, we must make the necessary amends and atonement for this and they must be treated in an accommodating, reasonable and compassionate way and with far more decency and sensitivity.”

Fani-Kayode said the Christian minorities in the North, who have been victims of ”ethnic cleansing, mass murder, crimes against humanity and genocide” in the last 60 years should be treated with respect and dignity.

Peeping into the future, he said: “What lies ahead for our country is frightful and chilling because the extremists and hardliners in the Federal Government are now in full control with no one to moderate, restrain or put them in check.”

He added: “What makes it worse is that the President has hidden himself in the Aso Rock bunker and has refused to step out and offer direction or provide strong and purposeful leadership.”

Fani-Kayode alluded to what he described as “a dangerous power vacuum,” stressing that “unless the President has the presence of mind to resign or to step up to the plate, rid us of the nepotism and the ethnic and religious divisions that plague the land, heal our wounds, change his ways and lead us fairly and boldly, it will not end any time soon.”

Fani-Kayode predicted that “the next few months and years will be difficult, harsh, unpredictable, unstable, bloody, vicious, brutish, hard, retrogressive, divisive, nasty, horrendous and nightmarish for our dear country.”

He also said “there will be little respite for anyone because that is all our government has to offer.”

Fani-Kayode warned that “what is likely to happen in Nigeria will make the ugly events that unfolded in Zaire and the Congo DRC over the last few decades and the horrendous events that occurred in Rwanda in the early 90’s look like a child’s play.”

However, he said although his predictions will come to reality, “the only saving grace is that God, and not any man, shall eventually deliver us.”

Fani-Kayode defended his tribute to the deceased Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, saying it does not translate into the abdication of the struggle.

He said those who were against his position on Kyari “are entitled to their opinion and are free to stop reading my contributions and commentaries.”

He said: “Regardless of their disposition towards me, I will continue to hold on to my views and express them. I owe myself, my God and my nation that much if nothing else.”

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