Abacha’s death caused more jubilation than sorrow for many people – Bamayi


Chief Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Ishaya Bamayi, has disclosed that there were leads pointing to possible suspects in the death of the former maximum dictator, General Sani Abacha, but the leads were never investigated but largely ignored.

In his new book, “Vindication of A General”, he said that “only God and those responsible would be able to tell the cause of Abacha’s death or provide details of the fact that he died in Aso Rock Villa.

“All the leads that would have been investigated were not followed. One can only mention aspects that concern him; I am one of those who do not believe Abacha’s death was natural. It caused more jubilation than sorrow for many people.

“The sentence, ‘We killed Abacha’, was discovered in one security officer’s house in his own handwriting, but the matter was not investigated because anything that had to do with Abacha was evil to the Obasanjo government regardless of the fact that their actions were worse than those of Abacha’s government”.

In the controversial book just launched, Bamayi recounted how he escaped death in a plane crash while touring army formations to educate soldiers on the need for subordination to civilian administration during the transition programme of Late Gen. Sani Abacha.

His words, “During my tour on the army formations to tell soldiers about the need for submission to civilian authority, I was on a tour of a 1 Mechanised Div area and we had to go to Nguru to address the unit there.

“We completed the address and we were to proceed to Kastina to spend the night. We boarded the aircraft at the Nguru airstrip, a Donier 288. As we were taking off, the aircraft crashed. It was totally damaged but as God would have it, no one died and there were no serious injuries. Only Maj. Chechet and I had some minor injuries and we were treated at the Nguru General Hospital.”

Writing under the sub-title: Gen Abacha’s Flawed Transition Programme, the author said, that he opposed Gen. Abacha’s self-succession plan and that his opposition brought him on a collision course with the kitchen cabinet of the late Head of State.

His words, “My real concern in this chapter is the interest of Gen Sani Abacha which informed the way he tried to manipulate the transition programme to remain in power.

“It was my own judgment that this was not in the best interest of the country and the military, and it was my determined opposition to the self-succession plan that brought me on a collision course with the inner circle of Gen. Abacha’s regime.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious to me now that my opposition to the perceived or real desire of Gen. Abacha to succeed himself at the end of his transition programme, was a major source of the gang-up against me by the inner circle of Gen. Abacha, led by Gen. Sabo”.

He said that he had no regrets for taking the position he took on the matter at that time, especially because the “the dust of the June 12 annulment had not yet settled.”

The General noted that while, he was touring army formations to educate officers and men on military role under a civilian government, some Nigerians were busy arranging the One-Million Man March for Abacha, and that some of those who went out publicly to campaign for Abacha to transmute were those who became PDP bigwigs.

“In the aftermath of the death of Gen. Sani Abacha and the emergence of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, it was my opposition to the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that made me a target of persecution once he took over the reins of power in May 1999”, Gen. Bamayi claimed.


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