Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (rtd), the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has denied claims that the military ruler died after eating an apple from his concubines.
According to ThisDay, Al-Mustapha alleged the late military ruler’s health abruptly failed on June 7, 1998, when one of the security personnel accompanying Palestinian President Yasser Arafat clasped hands with him at Abuja International Airport.
Giving an account of the incident, the former CSO to the Abacha said: “Shortly after the handshake, I noticed the change in the countenance of the late Commander-in-Chief, and I immediately informed the Aide-de-Camp, Lt. Col. Abdallah, who advised that we keep a close watch on him.
“Later in the evening of June 8, 1998, around 6 p.m., his doctor came around and administered an injection to stabilise him. He was advised to have a short rest.
“Happily enough, by 9p.m., he was bouncing and receiving visitors until much later when General Jeremiah Useni, the then minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), came to see him. He was fond of the Head of State. They were very good friends. They stayed and chatted together till about 3.35a.m.”
“A friend of the house was with me in my office and as he was bidding me farewell, he came back to inform me that the FCT Minister, Useni, was out of the Head of State’s Guest House within the Villa. I then decided to inform the ADC and other security guards that I would be on my way home to prepare for the early morning event at the International Conference Centre.
“At about 5 a.m., the security guards ran to my quarters to inform me that Abacha was very unstable.”
Al-Mustapha disclosed that he thought the officers who came to his house were an attempted coup plot, so he had to divert their attention on his movement to Abacha’s residence.
“At first, I thought it was a coup attempt. Immediately I prepared myself fully for any eventuality. As an intelligence officer and the Chief Security Officer to the Head of State for that matter, I devised some means of diverting the attention of the security boys from my escape route by asking my wife to continue chatting with them at the door. She was in the house while the boys were outside. From there, I got to the Guest House of the Head of State before them.
“When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation, I knelt close to him and shouted: ‘General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.
“I again knocked at the stool beside the bed and shouted in the same manner, yet he did not respond. I then realised that there was a danger. I immediately called the Head of State’s personal physician, Dr. Wali, who arrived in the place in eight minutes from his house. He immediately gave Oga (Abacha) two doses of injection, one at the heart (sic) and another close to his neck. This did not work apparently as the Head of State had turned very cold.
“He then told me that the Head of State was dead, and that nothing could be done after all. So I asked the personal physician to remain with the dead body while I dashed home to be fully prepared for the problems that might arise from the incident.
“As soon as I informed my wife, she collapsed and burst into tears. I secured my house and ran back to where Abacha was. At that point, the Aide-de-Camp had been contacted by me, and we decided that great caution must be taken in handling the grave situation.”
“Again, I must reiterate that the issue of my boss dying on women was a great lie just as the insinuation that Abacha ate and died of poisoned apple was equally a wicked lie.
“It was at this point that I used our special communication gadgets to diplomatically invite the Service Chiefs, military governors and some few elements purportedly to a meeting with the Head of State by 9 a.m. at the Council Chamber.
“That completed, I also decided to talk to some former Nigerian leaders to inform them that Abacha would like to meet them by 9 a.m.”