DIYA PLANNED TO BLOW UP ABACHA IN HIS CAR – BAMAIYI
While charting with former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, read what he has to say about how Diya planned to blow up Abacha in his car.
Gen. Ishaya said former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters and others were involved in a coup plot against the late Abacha in 1995.
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In his book which was launched on Thursday, Bamaiyi said the botched 1997 coup allegedly led by a former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya against Abacha was real.
He disclosed that Diya made $60,000 and N2 million cash available for the feeding of soldiers during the coup against Abacha.
Bamaiyi said the plan was to “blow up” Abacha’s car at a function in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja with an RGP-7.
The book says: “Again, within a space of two years, Gen. Oladipo Diya, second in command to Gen. Sani Abacha, was caught in the centre of another coup.
“It is an issue which Nigerians have extensively debated and commented upon.
“Unfortunately, the coup plotter, Gen. D. O. Diya, cowardly denied that he masterminded it with the support of officers like Gen. Ibrahim Sabo, who wanted to destroy me.
“Gen. Diya started planning to overthrow Gen. Abacha as early as 1994 when I was at Lagos Garrison Command (LGC).
“At that time, it was the responsibility of the service chiefs to receive the Commander-In-Chief anytime he visited Lagos, which during Gen. Abacha’s time, was occasional.
“The commander LGV would receive the Chief of General Staff (CGS) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (Presidential Wing) and see him off.
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“I always received Gen. Diya at the airport and escorted him to his private residence at Fajuyi Road in Ikeja or the Vice President’s home at Ikoyi, depending on where he felt like staying.
“On one such visit, at his Ikeja residence, he mentioned how Gen. Abacha had not been doing well. He made the statement during the next visit and I asked him what the problem was.
“Gen. Diya mentioned that the Commander-In-Chief did not come to the office early and was not listening to him and other senior people in the government.
“I told him I believed Gen. Abacha would listen to him because of their special relationship. I knew how many times Gen. Abacha had stopped plans to retire him.
“On the next visit, Diya said openly that there was a need to remove Gen. Abacha and that he was being blamed for the failure of the government from various quarters. I asked him which quarters he was talking about but he did not mention specifics.
“Gen. Diya went on to tell me I was one of the officers he trusted and he would rely on me to get Gen. Abacha out of office so the country would move forward under his leadership. I told him I would think it over and get back to him.
“I informed Gen. Abacha, who said he was going to put Gen. Diya on trial. I suggested there would be no evidence for a conviction and Gen. Diya would not be acting alone, so there was need for patience.
“I was appointed the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in April 19996 and Gen. P.N. Aziza was appointed to take over LGC. It became Aziza’s responsibility to receive and see off the CGS (Diya) at Murtala Muhammed Airport.
“After returning to Lagos from a tour of 2 Mech. Div., Gen. Aziza came to me at the COAS official residence. He looked worried, and I said ‘I hope all is well.’
“He later told me how Gen. Diya had told him of the need to overthrow Gen. Abacha, and he believed Gen. Diya was serious about it.
“I laughed first, and Gen. Aziza was surprised. He said, ‘Giwa [this is how we addressed each other since we were such old friends], why are you laughing at something so serious? You know this is a matter of life and death.’
“I told him it was nothing new. Gen. Aziza asked me what I was going to do about it. I assured him I would do something.
“I knew Gen. Aziza would want me to act, and it was in my best interest to do so because if there was an investigation, I would be held responsible for having known about a coup and hiding it.
“I went to Abacha the following day and told him what Gen. Aziza had told me. Gen. Abacha said he wanted to hear from Aziza directly. I sent for Gen. Aziza to meet me in Abuja, and the two of us went to see Gen. Abacha.
“Gen. Aziza told him exactly what he had told me. From Gen. Abacha’s looks, he was not surprised. He directed us to play along with Diya until we knew what he really wanted.
“I suggested to Gen. Abacha that he should call Gen. Diya for Aziza and me to challenge him and then make him resign or retire.
“Gen. Abacha disagreed and said we did not know what had been happening. I later found out that Gen. MC Ali as COAS and some service chiefs were retired because of their alleged plan to remove Gen. Abacha.“Other meetings took place at a guest house with Gen. Diya, Gen. Olanrewaju, Co 7 Gds Bn, Gen, Diya’s security officer—Major Fadipe and me. Of course, Gen. Abacha was always briefed after the meetings.
“Other meetings were held between Gen. Diya and me in his office. The issue of international support came up, he told me he was working on it.
“When the issue of feeding soldiers was brought up, he provided USD $60,000 to be given to GOCs to provide feeding for soldiers if there was the need.
“The money was taken to Gen. Abacha and I made a joke with him saying: ‘This is your worth at present.’ He only smiled and collected the money and later returned it to me. The money was used as exhibits during the trial.”
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