|Seyi Oduyela||Monday, November 15, 2004|
Hyattsville, MD, USA
ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE TO YOUR FRIENDS
OWNERS OF NIGERIA (VIII)
LATE GENERAL SANI ABACHA (III)
Before 1994, Abacha believed that to succeed, the Yoruba must be carried along; he saw the wisdom is choosing Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya as his deputy. Initially, Diya like Col. Abubakar Umar, Lawan Gwadabe and other young officers who believed that the military had stayed too long. Abacha saw this and used their interest in June 12 to turn them against Babangida. It worked for him and to consolidate his position he got all of the retired. Diya was needed to get the Wild Wild West under control until 1994 when Diya's own people failed.
There was this ultimatum issued by NADECO then, Abacha believed they would strike but it turned out to be ruse and Diya lost influence. Kokori was arrested detained in Borno State. The west lost the creation of Ijebu State, but they won Ekiti State, because the likes of Olumilua were practically sleeping in Abuja to commiserate with Abacha after the Kano plane crash. He did not allow Ijebu State, because that was the bedrock of NADECO- Senator Abraham Adesanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sir Ajayi Laniwun, Otunba Biyi Durojaiye and others are from Ijebu. To Abacha it was not safe to create a State for his enemies.
Diya became a suspect and fellow Yoruba were used as spies on him. They visited him several times wired to get something on him for Abacha. Diya became a source of wealth for many of them. At least one of the Ministers from Ibadan played that role. Arisekola Alao did and a publisher of a magazine who hails from Iwo did. Diya himself did not help situation, most Yoruba officers who would have been close to him were retired. Adetunji Olurin remains the only officer who went to ECOMOG as a Commander, though as Brigadier, but assumed the duty of a Major General but was not confirmed. He was retired as a Brigadier General. Col Kemi Peters also confirmed that Diya distanced himself from Yoruba officers and he paid dearly for it. But he had Tajudeen Olanrewaju who was Minister of Communications. Olanrewaju still has a case to answer on the contract he awarded after the Ikeja NITEL exchange was destroyed by mysterious fire. After the fire incident, contractors submitted bids for the repairs. Three Telecommunications Companies applied- two known European and one American. There were $85 million, $45 and $15 million bids. The highest got it. Sources disclosed that the least which was 415million would have made a profit of $5million, meaning that the actual cost would have been $10million. The contract was awarded and till date Ikeja exchange has not recovered for the fire problem, nothing really changed. I lived in Maryland for 3 years and experienced the problem.
It was under Abacha that Akhigbe, Victor Ombu and Ibrahim Ogohi perpetrated the smuggling of petroleum products from Port Harcourt and Warri to neighboring West African countries. Between the month of June and December 1996, Nigeria lost a total of 202,130 Metric Tonnes of petroleum products to smuggling with the connivance of Rear Admiral Mike Akhigbe, Victor Ombu and Ibrahim Ogohi. What is worrisome about these illegal diversions is the magnitude of the product involved and the fact that over 90% of the products were diverted abroad to Cotonou, Abidjan and Ghana by "unscrupulous operations." According to the report, within a span of six weeks about 15 vessels (10 vessels per month) disappeared undetected with such a large quantity of the nation's wealth. What led to the arrest of seven vessels in August 1996 and which became the eye opener for the Naval Operations unit was the interception of a telex message sent to Ghana on one of the illegal transactions. The telex dated 23 August 1996, was a confirmation of the delivery of Gasoil MIN 2,000MT/MAX 2,500MT. It was addressed to one Mr. Cato Browne and Kwasi Amankonah-Hinneh. One Peter Tatam for Trasfigura Ltd. signed the telex. The vessel Amorex is owned by Trasfigura, loaded in Okrika (mafia behind oil bunkering in Nigeria: The Nigerian Military Connection, August 23, 2003).
Between the period of June and July 1996, 40,800 MT of AGO (kerosene) and 5,470MT of DPK (diesel) were confirmed diverted. All the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe, did was to warn them and ordered the release of the vessels.
After the report of August, and the ''stern'' warning issued by the CNS, the illegal diversion still continued. In the month of September, seven vessels that loaded petroleum products were diverted abroad. A total of 7,500 and 5,000 of AGO and DPK were diverted. The Chief of Operations (COP) Rear Admiral Okoja in a memo ref: NHQ 011/67/OPS/Vol.IV/28 dated 21 November 1996 also reported this to the CNS.
In the month of October, sixteen vessels that loaded petroleum products with a total of 25,800 MT, 8,700MT and 28,600MT of PMS (petrol), DPK and AGO were diverted. This time, two vessels were specifically said to be notorious, MT Raider and Orion. The report indicted these operators within the movement industry. The report also stated that the B FOC East/NNS Okemini was directed to monitor and escort MT Raider and MT Orion carrying 3,000MT of DPK and 2,000 MT of AGO to the destination of the general area of Bakassi. ''Due to some mysterious reasons, NNS Okemini did not comply with Ref B. Consequently, the vessels disappeared ''unescorted,'' the report stated.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) East, Cdre VK Ombu (now a retired chief of Naval Staff), was directed to arrest the Nigerian Navy (NN) personnel involved and investigate the matter, he did not. Rather he arrested the vessels and left the personnel. The COP recommended that the CNS carry out full fledge investigation ''in the interest of the security of this country, the good image of the Nigerian Navy and indeed that of the other security operatives involved in enforcing security in our maritime environment,'' he stated.
The CNS, Rear Admiral Mike Akhigbe in response to the memo directed that henceforth that all correspondence of the task force should be addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff for the attention of Director of Marine Services (D'MAR,) by- passing the Chief of Operations. This according to a Naval Officer is at variance with the rank related (hierarchical) structure of the line of command and control of the military service. With the CNS directive, the COP now takes directive from the D'MAR instead of the reverse. The memo sent to the CNS by the D' MAR, Capt NK Wyom, confirmed this.
Investigation revealed that the Chief of Operations (COP) was seen as an obstacle and must be sidelined. Though with the new directive, reports kept coming to the office of the COP on the illegal diversion. In the month of November, seventeen vessels carrying 14,000MT of PMS, 22,600MT of AGO, 8,500MT of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and 8,000MT of HHK were diverted to neighboring countries. In December, twelve vessels carrying 22,560MT of AGO were diverted.
In some of the memos of the COP, Rear Admiral AOS Okoja, Cdre Victor Ombu and Cdre Ibrahim Ogohi were mentioned severally for disregarding directives from the Chief of Operations and most of the laxities were placed at their doorstep. For example in the case of the MT Raider and Orion, where Cdre Ombu FOC East was directed to arrest and investigate the Naval personnel involved in the illegal diversion, he was said to have arrested the vessels instead leaving the culprits and never investigated them. Even when he was asked to send the vessel to Lagos, he refused issuing a counter directive that the vessel be detained in Okemini. The FOC West then Cdre Ibrahim Ogohi was said not obey directives from the COP. And they cannot claim ignorance of these cases of illegal diversions. As FOCs it is within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). For the West, the harbors of Lagos, Warri and Sapele are within the AOR of the Command. This area, according to Naval sources stretches from Nigeria-Benin Border on Longitude 002 degree 40''E to a village called Sengana Long 006 degree, covering a coastline of 240 nautical miles. The Eastern Command has Port Harcourt, Calabar and Bakassi.
Investigation revealed that what makes it difficult to detect or identify vessels used for illegal bunkering is that their loading also appears on the official manifest but they are actually meant for outside the country. What is not clear is the level of complicity of the marketers in the dirty deal. Evidence show that vessels are loaded on marketers' account for a destination, but they never get to the said destination. In some cases, what appear as loading for delivery at the escavros is not actually meant for the place, an impeccable source disclosed that it was meant for smuggling using the companies as a front. This may have prompted a letter written to Mobil, National oil and Sea Petroleum and Gas in August 1996. The letter asked them to explain the whereabouts of vessels loaded in their name but never reached them. Naval personnel who once served in the Warri jetty disclosed that a certain vessel MT AINAZI is noted for smuggling of fuel.
Other vessels noted for such nefarious activity are MT Seaways and MT Princess. These two vessels are vessels in the fleet of Sea Petroleum and Gas. Sources disclosed that the frequency of ship loading enjoyed by vessels belonging to Sea Petroleum and Gas was higher than that of other vessels. The Oil Company is linked to Admiral Akhigbe. Though there is no physical evidence to prove that the company belongs to him but according to sources, MT Princess is named after one of Akhigbe's daughter. It was gathered that Akhigbe floated Sea Petroleum and Gas using someone else as a front. Apart from the escavros on the high sea, Famak filling station at Igbokoda in the waterside area of Ondo State is another dumping site for the smugglers. Sources disclosed that it is not possible for a vessel loaded with about 2,000 MT of fuel to get to Igbokoda because it is a shallow channel. (I have been there and I saw it live). According to him, Igbokoda is a decoy. 'It only appears on the signal and manifest but the vessel is always diverted to another place,'' he said. The owner of the filling station, according to investigation lives in Sapele, Delta State. Westminster Dredging, at Apapa in Lagos is another place where the smugglers dislodge before they transfer their goods to outside the country.
While attention was focused on tankers being driven across the border to neighboring countries, the real smugglers were having swell time on the high sea transferring the nation's wealth and plunging the rest of the country into serious hardship. It was reliably gathered that what was lost within the period of June and December 1996 was more than what was discovered.
THE COUP AGAINST TEDJAN KABBA
After the killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and the other Ogonis, it was apparent that Abacha had pitched himself against the whole world. Nigeria was suspended from Commonwealth. Abacha was confined to Abuja. He could not travel out of the country. He needed to win back the support of international community, so what should be done. The ECOMOG had succeeded in ensuring the enthronement of Tedjan Kabba as the democratically elected President of Sierra Leone and there seemed to be peace there. The idea came that Johnny Koroma should be allowed to topple Kabba and be driven out again, then re-instal Kabba. This, according to Abacha tink-tank will work and project him as a pro-democrat. After the civil war, Nigerian military personnel were in control of the security of both the Liberia State House and Sierra- Leone. They formed the bulk of security there. Charles Taylor got wind of the plan to topple him and that was why he insisted then that the Nigerian troops should leave Liberia.
Signal was sent to Freetown that on the night Koroma will strike, all armored tanks in the State House be disabled and the soldiers should not return fire. On that night Koroma men made in-road easily to the State House and Tedjan Kabba was thrown out. While the coup was going on under the watchful eyes of the Nigerian troops, apparently taking to orders, another troop in Liberia was ordered to move into Freetown to stop the coup. The Nigerian Commander in Freetown was not aware of the counter order. This was the team led by late Brig-General Maxwell Kobe. Two officers used to carry out different orders by same directing authority. This almost cost them their lives and the lives of troops sent. While this was going on, late Foday Sankoh was in detention in Nigeria. He was lured into Nigeria by someone who was managing the Nigerian refinery in Sierra-Leone, and arms dealer. He was a member of the House of Representatives (1999-2003) from Imo State (I want to leave the rest for now).
THE BAMAIYI'S COUPS
Ishaya Rizi Bamaiyi a course 4 officer of the NDA was made the Chief of Army Staff over his seniors like Abdul Karim Adisa, and others. So to retain them in service, they were posted out of the Army as Ministers. Bamaiyi, before his appointment never respected nor recognized Awal Kazir, his predecessor. Bamaiyi is a man with tall ambition. Abacha did not favour him but Diya did. Why? It is Diya alone that can answer that. So it is the same monster created by Diya that consumed him. Ishaya Bamaiyi is a man with many features and it is the one he wants you to know that you know. No sooner had he assumed office than Mustapha discovered that he had an ambition to succeed Abacha. Bamaiyi as the Chief of Army Staff wrecked more havoc on the Nigerian Army than any Chief of Army Staff before and after him. He stole so much money that one of his boys, a sergeant, went away with 750,000 Naira meant for one of his prostitutes. Bamaiyi ruined one lady's wedding. The lady in question is Yoruba; a day before her wedding Bamaiyi sent for her and raped her, her would-be groom had to flee from her to save his dear life. The lady visited him in detention at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison. Two officers were to be killed but were miraculously saved. They are Ibo Officers and still in service.
At the time when focus was on him, with his plot to unseat Abacha, Bamaiyi saw a good shield in Gen Diya. He approached Diya with the demands of Officers on political detainees, most importantly MKO Abiola. Knowing too that Diya had spoken against Abacha's self succession bid, Diya became his alibi. He sold the idea to Diya; gullibly Oga Diya bought it hook line and sinker. Towards the end of the year 1997, Abacha sacked some of his Ministers, with the aim of reconstituting another one. Adisa lost his Works and Housing Minister Portfolio, Olanrewaju did too. But Abacha's plan was to remove Bamaiyi as the Chief of Army Staff and make Adisa his new Chief of Army Staff.
Bamaiyi got wind of this from his boys planted within the Abacha set up, so he went to Diya and advised him to discuss the 'coup' with Adisa. In the military, if you hear of a coup plot and you fail to report it, you are as guilty as the plotters. Diya called Adisa told him, but when Adisa knew of those behind it, he warned Diya, but Oga Diya interpreted that as cowardice and accused Adisa of boot-licking in order to become the Chief of Army Staff. Bamaiyi went back to Abacha with a recorded tape from Diya. It was then that Abacha knew Adisa had been informed. He waited for Adisa to come and report but Adisa never did. He reported Adisa to Arisekola Alao who called Adisa. Adisa eventually went to Abacha but did not tell him anything. On his way out, Abacha called him, "Karim are you sure you have not forgotten any thing to tell me?" Adisa's response was negative. The focus now shifted from Bamaiyi to Diya, but Bamaiyi's plan was still intact. The Diya's coup was a decoy by Bamaiyi, a diversion.
To Mustapha, Sabo and other members of Abacha's camp, Diya did not plan any coup, it was Bamaiyi's idea. If not for Brigadier-General Ibrahim Sabo, Bamaiyi would have taken over power on December 20, 1997. His plan was for Diya to be taken away killed in action while he descended on Abacha. Mustapha was to be killed first. According to their plan, if Mustapha is out of the way, then Abacha becomes vulnerable. Sabo spoilt the show. The Abacha camp saw the wisdom in roping the coup on Diya after he escaped the bomb attack along the airport in Abuja. Arisekola Alao and Bamaiyi were to lead Abacha's entourage to Diya's house on condolence visit. They were at the airport that day but it didn't happen. Diya's girl friend Ayo had warned him. She got the information through a former military governor of Akwa Ibom State, who was later arrested and tried with Diya. It was the night of the bomb explosion that Diya knew and accepted that Abacha wanted him dead. Unfortunately for Diya, he had his official quarters wired and it was discovered that he was to leave for Lagos after that Sunday enroute Republic of Benin and they came after him that night.
Did Diya actually cry? Did he truly defecate as claimed by Sabo? It appeared funny that as intelligent as Mustapha is to forget that Diya defecated at the Villa. And it took Sabo to remember that. How strong would it have been that it will require Julius Berger to fumigate the Villa? The argument of defecation came after a question was raised on the different appearances of Diya on the video shown. Diya appeared in two different dresses, his voice not audible in the video tape too, while that of Adisa was clear.
After the Special Investigation, Frank Omenka disclosed to Diya that "Oga you are alone here, Bamaiyi and others have been released." It was at Omenka's instance that Bamaiyi was summoned and questioned by Lt. Gen Victor Malu. With evidence, Bamaiyi would have been convicted but for Abacha who had another plan for Bamaiyi. Omenka became Bamaiyi's enemy and after Abacha's death, Omenka was retired.
There is another group with a different agenda, and it was to get rid of Abacha. So it was a good thing that Diya was incarcerated, because if Abacha dies, Diya would have succeeded him, but their own candidate was in prison. So all the parties worked to remove Diya. The death of Abacha was not planned or hatched in a day, it was on for long and their tactics was scientific. They used information bought from one of Abacha's marabouts scouters, an old man from Ibadan.
When Abacha came in, his marabouts had warned that one of his girlfriends would be a vehicle for his death and an Ibo girl, incidentally, Abacha's favorite was mentioned. Abacha did not want to lose her, so he sent her abroad. She lived all that while abroad. But at a point when this Ibadan man lost favor with Abacha and was broke, he sold out the information to the group that eventually master-minded Abacha's death. Useni was Abacha's best pal and partner in crime. He was used indirectly without him knowing. They worked on the girl to insist that she wanted to come back home and they worked on Useni to prevailed on Abacha to allow the girl home. Their plot was to rope Abacha's death round Useni's neck, thereby disqualifying him from succeeding Abacha, since after Diya, Useni was the most senior officer, followed by Abdusalami Abubakar, who had remained invisible and silent in Abacha's government.
The lady came and some Indian ladies too were organized as diversion. The Ibo girl eventually came home and was lodged in NICON Hilton hotel, Abuja same place where one of MKO Abiola's wives was lodged. With the help of the Ibadan man, they placed MAGUN on the lady. MAGUN is a strong Yoruba medicine to track promiscuous women. Whoever sleeps with a woman with MAGUN will not survive it. This is more potent than any intelligent report, stronger than Sergeant Rogers and all body guards at the House No. 7 where Abacha died. MAGUN has no leg; it is invisible but very potent. General Sani Abacha was in high spirit seeing his girlfriend after many years of separation, bid his friend Jerry boy good night and went in with his Ibo girlfriend. After meeting the girl, he fell and somersaulted three times. He died under the watchful eyes of the body guards, but neither Mustapha nor the doctor could save him. He died even before sleeping with his expatriate prostitutes.
To Al-Mustapha, Useni orchestrated Abacha death because he wanted to take over, that was the impression they gave him and he fell for it. With Diya in detention, Useni branded as Abacha killer, the road was clear for Abdusalami Abubakar, apparently the heir. Abacha was number one, Diya number two, Useni 3 and Abdusalami 4; this is according to military seniority. This was where Mustapha was demystified, with all his 5 years of security network and spurious intelligence gathering, it came to the fore that most people who surrounded the dark-goggled General were feeding on him. Mustapha failed his boss at the last minute, he fell and the Abacha Empire collapsed like a pack of cards. Mustapha thought Babangida was on their side, until he was posted out of the Villa to 82nd Division in Enugu under Major-General Oladayo Popoola. It was a set up he failed the litmus test and was arrested and detained. That was the beginning of his journey into partial incarceration. Omenka? He miraculously got out of the country. Sabo was spared. Why? When Obasanjo was taken to inter-center at Ikoyi cemetery over the 1995 coup. He was thrown into a room on a bare floor, no carpet, no bed. Sabo, as the Director of Military Intelligence was on a tour of the detention centers and he saw the Ota farmer in the sorry condition. He believed the General deserved better treatment, he knew there was no coup, so he ordered that Obasanjo's room be equipped with beddings, refrigerator and carpet . At least it made the Ota farmer to live like a Very Important Detainee until his transfer to Yola prison. Sabo is now a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The news spreading then was that one of Jerry Useni's boys, a lawyer and a Lt. Colonel was the one who went to India to bring the expatriate prostitutes, and that that was why he was retired after the findings of a panel set up by Abdusalami Abubakar government. The truth is that the man in question; Lt. Col Nandap was not retired because of any finding. There was no investigation. He was retired with some other officers, two Brigadier-Generals because their panel set Colonel Kemi Peters free. Col Kemi Peters was mentioned in the December 1997 coup but escaped from his house in Lagos. He stayed abroad until after Abacha's death. On his return, General Ishaya Bamaiyi ordered his arrest and set up a court martial to try for AWOL-Away Without Official Leave. But throughout the period of Col Peters' disappearance, the Army under Bamaiyi never issued such warrant on him; in fact the Army was paying his salary. The charge of AWOL could not be proven by the Army, so the Martial court set him free.
Bamaiyi was mad and he ordered that all members of the court be retired compulsorily. Nandap was unlucky as he was just on the waiting list but stood in for a member who was not around and he got his service abruptly interrupted. One of the Brigadier-Generals was one of the best Medical doctors in the Army, but he was retired by Bamaiyi.
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku: His rise and seeming fall, next on Owners of Nigeria.