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Vol 39 No 9

Published 1st May 1998


Nigeria

Army arguments

The coup plot trial has brought some military divisions to the surface

The death sentences handed down on 28 April to six convicted coup plotters - all from the Yoruba south-west - will do little to settle the unease in the military about General Sani Abacha's political transition programme. The six sentenced by the coup tribunal in Jos included Abacha's former deputy and Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant Gen. Oladipo Diya, Major Gen. Abdukarim Adisa, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju and three others. The tribunal chairman and former commander of the West African peacekeeping force, Maj. Gen. Victor Malu, pronounced Diya guilty of participating in a coup attempt but intriguingly, left open the question of who initiated the plot. Diya has maintained that he and his co-defendants were set up by the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, and the Communications Minister, Maj. Gen. Patrick Aziza. We hear Malu tried hard to get Bamaiyi and Aziza to appear as state witnesses in Jos so that they could be cross- examined by the defendants.

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