Lt. Lawrence Garba came to tell me that may be Col. Babangida was coming back. I said okay. He went out again and noticed that another 3 tonner were coming up with troops. He said he is not sure whether Col. Babangida was bringing any message but he was sure that some troops had come. So I took excuse from the director general that I was coming .back to make some corrections. Looking through the window, I noticed that all the armoured vehicles took position and when the 3 tonner arrived, the troops debursed. They started shooting at the boys to get out or so. It was then that Lawrence Garba said I should go in to one of the rooms and stay there.
I told him I wasn’t to be locked up in a room. He said I should go. I told him I was not going anywhere. He said well, if I was not going to do it, he was going to write me off. I said, ok. I took my rifle and went down. By that time, the whole Radio House has been taken over completely, cordoned completely.
The boys who were supposed to be on my side have abandoned their position. So, I came down and found my way home with a car. I gave the key to my driver to warm the car and reversed it. Meanwhile, I asked for cold water. I wanted to drink and change, comb my hair. My senior wife came in and asked whether I wanted to eat? I told her no; that I was coming.
As I was about to go out, some people arrived, I think, she said the press wanted to interview me or so. I told her to tell them that I wasn’t ready. They should wait for me until I come back. I jumped into my car, picked my radio. Even when the Radio House was being attacked, there was no change in the broadcast. I told them to wait for me until I was back. I drove this time to the airport, the cantonment was locked.
I could not see any sign of soldier moving up and down except the sentries at the gate. I drove up to the airport, I went left, came left again went back to one Flight Lt. Akinfewa’s house.
He was not in, I went in to one of his rooms, lay down and when I put on the radio, nothing was coming up. I laid down for a while after about 10 to 15 minutes, I got up, went to the car. I asked the Flight Lt. where was my wife. He said he did not know, because he was friendly with her younger sister. I suggested whether she went to Mrs. Gbadamasi where the Air Force chap was staying. He said whether I could go there. I said, I do not know the house. He said whether he was going to follow me, I told him he should wait for me that I was going to come back. So, I drove again, went through Maryland. I wanted to go and put more fuel but the traffic was too much. From there, I turned left. (You talked about the elimination list) Thank you very much again.
As for the elimination list, General Bisalla was particularly bitter with the head of state, the chief of staff, chief of army staff. It was when I met these boys again, these majors, and they listed out most of these people. In one of the things was that, they picked Jemibewon (Military Governor Oyo State) and in fact, I left out Lt. Cols. the one in Reece now in Ibadan. We had two Lt. Cols. in Ibadan, one is the Regt. Commander and one the Commandant. (Just say this destination) I think I will get to remember now. For example, like Jemibewon and himself in fact, he was a member of the board. He was a member of the Conversion Board.
I think this list was drawn at Kaduna, which came out apart from the first three. I told you, in fact, they had their meeting because it was T. K. Adamu who said he had never been in good terms with Jemibewon. In fact, this was one of ‘the first three as I told you which Bisalla expressed hatred for. In fact, he was more concerned with the head of state and the chief of army staff, the two of them. If it is in order of merit, clearly Danjuma. (At what point did he express this to you) That was in fact, the meeting where he told me that it must be within the week. (This is the lot of all elimination list. You mentioned that all members of SMC)? I think, I wanted to say most of the SMC members. At this juncture, I think I must say something about the police. It is a pity I became a nuisance actually. I was most stupid at that particular moment. Major Dabang said that the 10 and his deputy were not good that they were traitors. Then I brought a story to them that, that was not true.
I said the present DIG, as far as I know of him, is a man of principle said NO is NO! He is a stooge. And of course, as for the 10, as far as I know of him because I was in Enugu and I had the privilege of meeting the IG who spoke to me. In fact, he gave me that honour when Asika was messing up around, he told me that his problem is that he has got certain facts but when he will pass it over, nobody may act. So, I told them that frankly speaking, we have nothing to do with the police because they said that Yusufu is a traitor. I was trying to tell them that I was privileged enough to know this man in person. They-said no!
In the first place, we had no quarrel with them. Leave them alone. So, in fact, this aspect of it did not come in. In fact, Bisalla himself did not think about the police. In fact, he was not concerned much about the police. Definitely, Major Dabang expressed his dissatisfaction, particularly on the DIG. I do not know his reasons for that but then he said the DIG and IG too, this was not a matter of elimination. Retirement or something.
In short, I did not want to have the feeling that they should be arrested at all. So, I came in and told them that I had the opportunity of borrowing them. I took that of the DIG and of course told them of what I knew about him.
That was in fact, the way I thought, I would convince them. For your information, I think it was correct, because probably some of them had some links somewhere. Dabang’s reason was that he said it was the DIG who stopped these chaps from doing this petty trade at mammy market.
I told him that, that was not enough reason because if the police had no market as the soldiers do and they decided that there should be no sales around the barracks, I mean, that was simple as that. (They did not say who was to replace them)? They did not. I was not at ease; I had to come down because I could not see anybody. (Who was to arrange that)? We weren’t certain, we were waiting for some of the chaps from HQ and we have spoken to some of the chaps round there.
They were automatically rushed to the Radio House. (Do you say this particular re-enforcement. It was said that when you did not see Re-enforcement that you were expecting, that you were going to telephone Guards Brigade commander, can you confirm this)? Yes. It’s not exactly so. It was when those who were crushed, one or two of them who went back to the barracks were not allowed out and it was confirmed that they must have been arrested. So, I wanted to say probably let me get on the brigade commander and speak to him to express just as I did to Lt.-Col. Mayaki at Ikeja. But whether it was by design, I couldn’t just get through direct extension. (Now, did you at any time ask some of the officers not to fear or so)? No, I think what happened was that I said if they wanted to look for me I would either be at the brigade HQ or at the Radio House. (This, you remember when the head of state’s car was approaching the filling station was apparently William Seri, was it by design or by accident that the car stopped)? I think I am not going to be very sure now, it must have stopped by traffic.
(I know because it looked so coincidental because you have already put in, supposing the car did not stop where William said it was supposed to stop)? Oh! I see, this is a very good question, I think it was co-incidental)? Sure co-incident. (But there was an officer who just appeared there that morning to stop the particular car)? To stop the car? (Just to control the traffic)? Is that so, I think it must be co-incidental.
Well, this is an interesting one. (Now, we are coming back to the question of Benin, Major Binlam, I think you know Major Binlam you were in Phoenix Hotel in Onitsha, between 7 and 12 January, I think you remember that, Binlam was also there, you know what happened, I don’t know where he was coming from actually, He didn’t (Broadcast: The truth of the 1st and 2nd broadcasts.
How did you arrive at what was to be done, what time, and what was to be said)? I did not exactly know what I was going to say but if you go through that broadcast, again, you will find out that it was a carbon copy of Acheampong’s broadcast with amendments.
In fact, unfortunately, I did not make the second broadcast. You will find out that the facts contained in the second broadcast, some of these facts I got from J.D. Gomwalk. From some discussion with Gen. Bisalla the first three, as I told you, about some people being clean and not being clean, one of them which he told me, a sort of confirming about this 25 million pounds, million naira which BBC reported that the money was paid to an African head of state. It was one of the confirmations which he told me that it was ridiculous. That this BBC information, that they were referring to the head of state. I think they said one of the West African heads of state.
As for the then chief of staff (SHQ), he then told me about nine bridge cases which Col. Ochefu was handling. The second part of the broadcast was to come up. Also it was an amendment from second part of Acheampong’s broadcast. It was the way I spoke to him and he suggested I should write it that way. (Did you speak to the boys about your broadcast or you spoke to J.D. Gomwalk)? NO! It was when I sent Bawa that he collected those facts from J.D. Gomwalk.
You said you met only about three to five troops at NBC. The impression was that you were expecting some troops)? As a result of the conference, we had with this OR, the troops were going to come in, immediately shooting starts or something and when this happened, I ran up. Apparently I was faster, or so. So, I came in, they were few. I think when they saw me, one of the chaps who was around, to see me, probably he must have gone back to get more.
That was how they rushed in about 60 to 70, because he got to know I was there but I think he saw the car he knew I was. He saw my boys actually in the Land Rover. He was told I was the one. So, he came in and met me and I told him I was there on short leave and I was on my way back.
In fact, I had intention of stopping over at Ore to see him and probably talk to him on this and told him well I will speak to him.
By the time I left, my car gave me a lot of trouble before I got there, he had already left for Offa, I think (Akure). I think he was the acting brigade commander at Akure. In fact, I stopped at Akure but I did not see him. What happened was that my car was almost off and I managed to get to Ore to get a mechanic.
When I got there, fortunately I saw a soldier coming by a machine and I asked whether his CO was in and he told me the CO travelled. (But during the Sport’s Week at Benin, didn’t you see him)? I didn’t see him. (Did you see Lt. Templong.
He was also at that particular hotel between 7 and 12 January in Benin)? Apparently what happened was that some of these chaps were briefed by Col. T.K. Adamu and as I told you, whenever this thing comes up, it was just fortunate that some of your boys were not around and any of your boys approached me, he could have received the same positive reply from me, honestly.