Former Army chief General Ishaya Bamaiyi (C) is led out of the courtroom after regaining his freedom of attempted murder charge at the Ikeja High Court in Lagos on April 3, 2008. A Lagos high court has discharged and acquitted General Bamaiyi, former Army Chief during the dictatorial regime of General Sani Abacha, who has been standing trial on four counts of attempted murder since 1999.
A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd), has asserted that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo kept him incarcerated for eight years for fear of been overthrown.
Bamaiyi, who made the claim in his new book, “Vindication of A General”, said former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) told Obasanjo that he must handle Bamaiyi, else his government will be overthrown.
Following Abubakar’s disclosure to Obasanjo, the then National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, made it a duty to keep him locked up at all cost.
In Chapter 10, page 128 of his book, the former Army Chief wrote: “As soon as Obasanjo took over, Gen. Abubakar and some of his people told Obasanjo that if I were left free, I would overthrow Gen. 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 for Capt. Najaja to replace Capt Bature, who was assigned to the USA. Gen. Abubakar said Najaja was being investigated. He realized his mistake and kept quiet. I did not bother myself about the investigation because I knew I was not involved in any criminal act.
“Abubakar’s committee completed its assignment and gave clean bills to all those questioned. When Obasanjo took over, some PDP big shots decided that based on the report, I had control of the Army and should be arrested. The government looked for avenues to arrest me.
“They started by checking Army accounts to see if I had stolen money. They spoke to the Director of Army Finance and Accounts, DAFA, Maj. Gen. Omosebi 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 in Asokoro. The NSA, Gen. Gusau talked to Mr. Daboul, a friend of mine who had built the house for me. He told General Gusau of our agreement that I would pay for the house over 10 years. This saved my house.
“When everything failed, Obasanjo and his government decided to revisit their investigation. Col. JB Yakubu and Capt. Najaja were forced to implicate me. This gave the government the opportunity to start looking for me. I was following everything that was happening.”