Former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi has explained how the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly plotted to kill him while he was in detention for over eight years.
Mr. Bamaiyi, who is now a retired lieutenant general, was detained in October 1999 and charged for the alleged murder of the late publisher of the Guardian newspaper and former Internal Affairs Minister, Alex Ibru.
In his book, “Vindication of a General,” Mr. Bamaiyi alleged that the Obasanjo administration was not satisfied with his arrest and detention based on ‘trumped up charges’ that were orchestrated by some individuals in the military, but made efforts to eliminate him.
“While I was in prison, efforts were made to ensure I did not come out alive,” Mr. Bamaiyi said in the 252-page book launched in Abuja a fortnight ago.
“A clear case was an attempt to kill me with a lethal injection while I was admitted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
“A friend from Abuja called to advise me not to accept any injections. He had been present when it was decided, and money was made available to give me a lethal injection. I took the advice and never had any injection while in LUTH.”
The former army chief also alleged that efforts were made by the office of Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to ensure he died in prison as all professional advice and recommendations of specialists were rejected.
He said, “After thorough examination of my ailment, LUTH recommended my going abroad for treatment, and the presiding Judge Oyewole gave a court order for me to travel.
“The DPP did not obey this court order but subjected me to further tests at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and sent one of their staff to see how I was examined.
“Their results were the same as those of LUTH. The DPP, with wicked intentions, refused this report, and I had to be taken to a private diagnostic centre, Redmed, for another test and examination, where it was clearly stated that no centre in Nigeria could diagnose my ailment.”
Mr. Bamaiyi explained that the DPP was left with no option but to allow him proceed for treatment at the Welcare Hospital in Dubai.
He stated that he provided funds for flight tickets, medical treatment, and accommodation for his wife and the consultant who took him to Dubai where he was hospitalised for five months before returning to Nigeria.
The former army chief said when he returned to Nigeria, it was clear to him that the other accused, namely James Danbaba, J.B. Yakubu, Hamza Al-Mustapha and Rabo Lawal were not ready for trial.
He said as a result of the development he advised his counsel to pursue a separation for his trial which the other accused “overwhelmingly opposed.”
WHY I WAS ARRESTED
Mr. Bamaiyi claimed he was detained because the then Obasanjo administration feared he would overthrow it.
“As soon as Obasanjo took over, General Abubakar and some of his people told Obasanjo that if I were left free, I would overthrow General Obasanjo’s government.
“This did not surprise me because, while we were in service, General Abubakar set up a secret investigation of certain people during the Abacha rule. I had not been told, although some soldiers in the army, like Sgt. Rogers, were invited for investigation.
“When I had to replace my security officer, I asked Capt. Najaja to replace Capt. Bature, who was assigned to the USA. General Abubakar said Najaja was being investigated. He realised his mistake and kept quiet.
“I did not bother myself about the investigation because I knew I was not in any way involved in any criminal acts. I am aware that General Abacha drew the attention of his security chiefs because we complained that we were not providing security to Nigerians.”
The former army chief said Mr. Abubakar’s committee completed its assignment and gave clean bills to all those questioned.
He said when Mr. Obasanjo took over, some big shots of the Peoples Democratic Party decided that, based on the report, he (Bamaiyi) had control of the army and should be arrested.
“The government looked for avenues to arrest me,” he said.
“They started by checking Army account to see if I had stolen money. They spoke to the Director of Army Finance and Accounts (DAFA), Maj. Gen. Omosehi, who told them he had never worked with an officer who believed in accountability like I did. They felt disappointed.
“The government wanted to take my personal house at Asokoro. The NSA, General Gusau, talked to Mr. Daboul, a friend of mine who had built the house for me. He told Gen. Gusau of our agreement that I would pay for the house over ten years. This saved my house.”
Mr. Bamaiyi said when everything to nail him failed, the Obasanjo administration decided to revisit their investigation.
According to him, Messrs. J.B. Yakubu and Najaja were forced under duress to implicate him and that gave the government the opportunity to start looking for him.
The army chief, who said he shunned all entreaties from many people to run away from the country, said in October 1999, Mr. Gusau told his (Bamaiyi) younger brother, Danladi Bamaiyi, that he (Gusau) wanted to see him (Ishaya Bamaiyi).
He stated, “When I got to Abuja, I went to see General Gusau. He told me an investigation was on and that Commissioner of Police, Danbaba, said I had authorised him to issue a weapon with which Mr. Alex Ibru was shot. I asked him, as COAS, would I need any weapon from the police. I told him I did not know anything about it and did not believe Danbaba would have said that.
“He directed me to go and think about it and see him on 13 October 1999. I told him I had nothing to think about.
“General Gusau told me I was under arrest and directed Comd Brigade of Guards, Brig. Gen. Alex Mshelbwala, to take me to a place prepared to detain me, which turned out to be my guest house while I was COAS inside Fort IBB.”
Source: (Premium Times)