October 26 In History

October 26, 1962

On this day, Doctor Akinola Maja, who was also called “father” of the Action Group and chairman of the National Investments and Properties Company Limited, and Chief Adebayo Doherty, an elder of the party and former managing director of the National Bank Limited were accused before the Coker Inquiry.

Their accuser was Mr. Alfred Rewane, political secretary to the Action Group leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and also a director of the National Investments and Properties Company Limited. Mr. Rewane was being led in his evidence-in-chief by Chief Michael Okorodudu, Q.C., leading counsel to the Commission over the Moba Estate project when he leveled certain charges against the two-party elders. He alleged:

-That Dr. Maja and Chief Doherty obtained 750,000 pounds loan from the Western Nigeria Marketing Board on behalf of the NIPC when the managing director, Chief S.O. Shonibare, was out of the country and spent the money to clear debts alleged to have been incurred by the Action Group without the knowledge and authority of NIPC directors.

-That Dr. Maja took and appropriated another 120,000 pounds belonging to the NIPC without prior knowledge and authority of the company’s board of directors.

Mr. Rewane was still accusing the party elders when Dr. Maja walked into the inquiry hall, Dr. Maja had not attended the inquiry since he concluded his evidence few weeks earlier.

At the request of the chairman of the Inquiry Commission, Mr. Justice G.B.A. Coker, he (Rewane) was telling the Commission what he knew about the acquisition and purchase of MOBA by NIPC. Mr. Rewane told the Commission that he could have reported the matter to the police but he wanted to avert another episode which might appear like the case of Patrick Jacob Osoba, former managing director of Merchants Bank, who was then serving a five-year jail term for stealing 35, 000 pounds from his bank.

Adebayo Doherty, Alfred Rewane and Akinola Maja


OCTOBER 26, 1993

On this day, Richard Ogunderu, Kabir Adenuga, Benneth Oluwadaisi and Kenny Rasaq-Lawal  (the four hijackers of a Nigeria Airways jet, Airbus 310  that took off from Lagos, Nigeria on October 25, and was bound for Abuja, the Federal Capital, but was forced to fly to neighbouring Niger Republic), said they would set the Airbus 310 on fire in 72 hours unless Nigerian authorities agreed to their demands.

The flight began in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, and was bound for Abuja, the capital. The plane sought to land in Ndjamena, Chad, for refueling but was denied permission and diverted to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

After negotiating with authorities for two hours, the hijackers freed most of the hostages. Niger officials gave several conflicting accounts of the numbers involved, but the Interior Ministry said that all but 34 of the 159 people on board were freed. Twenty-eight of those still held were Nigerian government officials, head of the Electoral Commission and the other six were crew members, Niger’s Interior Ministry said.

The hijackers were armed with guns and knives, but there were no injuries among the released passengers, who included Rong Yiren, the vice president of China, said Souleye Abdouleye, Niger’s transportation minister.

The hijackers demanded that:

that Nigeria’s military  government should resign and name Moshood K.O. Abiola as the president; a return of press freedoms in Nigeria; and the prosecution of people who collaborated with the military government, Nigerian officials said.

-the Interim National Government (which they termed ‘illegal’) of Chief Ernest Shonekan should be dissolved with the abrogation of the Decree 61 that formed it and Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola be declared the President of Nigeria. They called for the ‘the trial of all those who collaborated with the military regime‘ and the dissolution of the present government.”

-Press freedom in Nigeria be guaranteed and that General Ibrahim Babangida be prosecuted on corruption charges.

-‘looters’ of the economy which “included 3,000 government officials who stashed away $33 billion in Swiss accounts” be fished out and all prosecuted.

Civil aviation officials in Niger said the leader of the hijackers, identified only as ″Kabar,″ warned that the plane had been doused with fuel and would be ignited unless the hijackers’ demands were met.

Babangida and The Four Hijackers

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