99 Views

The Brutal Assassination of Kudirat Abiola

BACKGROUND TO THE KILLING   

Kudirat-Abiola-MKO-Abiola_Naijarchives

In May 1996, the month before Kudirat Abiola was mercilessly gunned down, she had been briefly detained for a few hours for allegedly possessing publications critical of the Nigerian military government headed by General Sani Abacha. Although her husband and billionaire businessman, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, was already jailed over charges of treason, Kudirat became the tireless advocate for his freedom and return of his mandate. The beautiful woman soon became one of the most dreaded foes of Abacha.

THE D-DAY

On a Tuesday, 4th of June, 1996, around 3:05 pm one of the most senseless murders in Nigeria was carried out. A sparkling white Mercedes Benz V-Boot was cruising along the streets of Lagos. As the car slowed down around 7-Up Depot/Bus Stop in Ikeja, they were attacked by six men who suddenly opened fire on the German machine: Mrs. Abiola, her assistant (who had just been released by the police) and chauffeur were in the car.

Her car.

The assassins approached her car and opened a volley of gunfire. The vehicle came to a screeching halt as the driver was hit. A bullet flying from nowhere lodged itself in Kudirat’s forehead, penetrating her skull and smashing her brain. The trauma must have been too much for the poor woman. She lost consciousness and was rushed in that state to the Eko Hospital for urgent medical attention. All efforts made by the medical team to save her life failed. Kudirat Abiola died, with a gaping bullet wound on her forehead. She was 44. Her driver too did not survive the attack. Both were shot at close range.

Mrs. Abiola was with her assistant and driver on the streets of Lagos, while in her white Mercedes Benz, they were attacked by six (some say three) men in a vehicle driven by Mohamed Abdulof, who rained bullets on them with a Belgium-made FN P90 submachine gun/compact assault rifle which is quite unconventional as the gun is used to combat terrorists not civilian targets.

2688 Kudirat Abiola  Biography profile photo life story history date of birth marriage Wikipedia

Her driver was shot and he died while her personal assistant, Michael Adesina, was unhurt. Before the killing, Kudirat Abiola had complained of threats to her life and that she was being trailed by unknown men.

THE WEAPON USED IN KILLING KUDIRAT

The F-90, submachine gun/compact assault rifle used was used in killing Kudirat Abiola. Made in Belgium and described as a selective fire personal defence weapon, it is compact but highly efficient.

Named for 1990, the year it was made by FN Herstal, the weapon is ideal for vehicle crews, support personnel, special forces and counterterrorist teams. Weighing 2.6 kg and just 50.5 cm long, it is in use by the US Secret Service and its standard variant is not available to civilians. It has an integrated reflector sight system, back-up iron sights, fully ambidextrous control meaning it can be easily used by right or left-handed shooters and can fire 900 rounds per minute to a maximum distance of 1,800m.

Three of the small-caliber, high-velocity 5.7×28mm cartridges as used in the P90. The left cartridge has a plain hollow tip, the center cartridge has a red plastic V-max tip, and the right cartridge has a blue plastic V-max tip. Credits: Creative Commons.

Picture shows a disassembled PS90 (The standard P90 disassembles into similar main components), showing the major component groups: 1. trigger group, 2. barrel and optical sight assembly, 3. butt plate, 4. magazine, 5. bolt carrier and recoil assembly, 6. stock body and trigger. The firearm was indeed designed to kill: The P90 was designed to have a length no greater than a man’s shoulder width, to allow it to be easily carried and maneuvered in tight spaces, such as the inside of an armored vehicle. The weapon overall has an extremely compact profile—it is the most compact fixed-stock submachine gun to be made. The P90 requires minimal maintenance, and it can be disassembled quickly and easily. The P90 utilizes the small-caliber, high-velocity 5.7×28mm cartridge. The P90 can be fitted with a sling for greater ease of carry, and since the weapon has a fixed stock (as opposed to having a collapsing or folding stock), it can be quickly deployed when needed. It is in use in 40 countries of the world including Nigeria where it is employed by the State Security Service (SSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). At least 100 p90s are in use in Nigeria.

FN P90 magazine loaded with FN 5.7×28mm SS197SR cartridges. The P90's unique magazine has a capacity of 50 rounds, and it fits flush with the weapon's frame. Credits: Creative Commons.

Below are videos of the P90 in action:

BUILDUP TO THE ASSASSINATION AND AFTERMATH

Kudirat in September 1995.

Sergeant Rogers (Barnabas Jabila) later confessed that the ‘contract’ to snuff life out of Kudirat was given by the Chief Security Officer to General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza al-Mustapha, to Rabo Lawal, who was in charge of the mobile police (MOPOL) force at the presidential villa. Rogers also said the killer team was then provided with Uzi rifles complete with silencer and cash for the operation, all in the presence of Mohammed Abacha, son of the head of state. He claimed to have had direct involvement in the assassination with Lawal. Rogers said he was sent to kill three times but succeeded only with Kudirat Abiola failing with NADECO chieftain Abraham Adesanya and Alex Ibru.

In order to penetrate the security network of the Abiolas, the killer squad went via Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, Alhaja Kudirat’s personal assistant. There were two attempts to assassinate Kudirat, the first attempt was planned to take place right inside the residence of MKO Abiola but when the assailants discovered that would be too dangerous, they abandoned the plan only for them to continue their surveillance of their primary target, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

After the gunmen successfully got their target killed, each member of the killer team was reportedly given the sum of N50,000 ($250) by Major Al-Mustapha for a job well done. The announcement of Kudirat’s killing was made by Mudashiru, a brother to MKO Abiola, he said the very afternoon she was shot:

The late Mudashiru Abiola announced her killing to the world.

“I can confirm now that Mrs. Kudirat Abiola was killed from the gun attack this morning. She will be buried according to Islamic rites tomorrow at 4:00p.m.”

Kudirat's burial.

THE RESPONSE OF THE NIGERIAN MILITARY GOVERNMENT

Following the killing of Alhaja Kudirat, the Nigerian junta headed by General Sani Abacha. His government offered the sum of $45,000 as reward for information leading to the arrest of those who killed Kudirat. Abacha’s government placed the blame of Kudirat’s killing on the increasing spiral of violence and terrorism in the country. Before the assassination, Mrs. Kudirat had been complaining that there were threats to her life, that unknown men were trailing her. The military government would later send a ‘high-powered’ delegation to the Abiola family to commiserate with them over the brutal assassination of their matriarch.

In the videos below, Kudirat, the wife of the late MKO Abiola is shown watching General Abacha on the television:

 

-Meanwhile in May 2001, a Federal High Court in Abuja declared that Mohammed had no case to answer in the Kudirat Abiola charges and was roped in simply on circumstantial evidence. He was released and went to Kano where he was treated to a hero’s welcome by hordes of Abacha’s supporters. He would later refuse to sign the proposed settlement agreement with the FGN announced by the Swiss authorities in April 2001. At about the same time, he was paid a visit by General Muhammadu Buhari who announced he was going to run against Obasanjo come 2003. Assuming Buhari won, it is safe to assume that the Abacha family would have had a better deal but Buhari lost to Baba Iyabo.

REACTIONS

  • South Africa was vociferous in its condemnation of the killing of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. The South African government called the assassination of the woman a horrifying event. The SA Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo while calling for the release of Abiola said: “It is all the more regrettable that this tragedy occurred while her husband remains detained.”
  • The spokesman for the British Foreign Office called the shooting ‘tragic news’.
  • Nigerian activists represented by Shina Loremikan, spokesperson of the Campaign for Democracy pressure group: “The Civil Liberties Organization calls for a judicial panel of enquiry for a thorough investigation of the circumstances leading to the brutal murder and prosecution of the culprits. This is a very bad omen for the nation. We need an immediate return to democracy because the military regime with all its might still cannot guarantee the safety of life.”

ANALYSIS

Femi Ojo-Ade analyzed the murder as follows:

Before her sudden, and speedy elimination, Kudirat had become one more victim of harassment in the hands of those holding the poor country in bondage. Everyone with a brain knew exactly why: Unlike many others echoing their master’s voice by calling for compromise, dialogue, and connivance as the best way forward, the woman kept insisting on her husband’s right to justice.

  In Nigeria, if you insist on your right, you are adjudged to be confrontational. Since the military and their brothers and sisters from the North have been chosen by the Almighty to rule the country forever, it makes sense that, if you are oppressed, battered, butchered, or whatever, it is your duty to beg the oppressors who are simply acting out their God-given right. You must not resist, because Allah has decided the condition to which you must resign yourself. Maybe that is why Kudirat’s submissive family did not deem it necessary to cry out on her behalf while she was still alive.

  Maybe another reason would be more pertinent. They were convinced she was being confrontational or, worse still, over-ambitious, obsessed with first ladyship (as Abiola’s most senior wife) and the power deriving from the position. Now, as far as the first ladyship is concerned, let us agree that, in the Nigerian context, particularly in the performance of those two namesakes who followed each other in proving their care for the Nigerian Woman and Family by piling up billions, there is reason to fear, or envy, Kudirat’s potential. Which does not mean that she was into anything unheard of, or beyond her right. For, whether the Abiolas or all of us like it or not, she was the man’s senior wife and, therefore, in charge of the household, and his affairs, while he remained in jail. Kudirat proved her mettle during the 1993 election campaign. Her husband never has any reason to doubt her competence. The very fact that, throughout his ongoing travails, she was the ONLY member of his family with enough courage to speak out, and to refuse to veer from the path of justice and fair play, shows that Kudirat was a superior human being.

Kudirat Abiola Assassination

  Before she was killed, Kudirat was embroiled in a quarrel with Abiola’s first son, Kola, over the choice of attorneys. The case was, and still is, in court. The two lawyers are, G. K. O. Ajayi, and F. R. A. Williams, both of them well-respected in the profession. Kudirat stuck with Ajayi, the one handling the case from the beginning, while Kola preferred Williams who, according to him, and Falomo, Abiola’s personal doctor, has been chosen as replacement by Abiola himself. This last piece of information or, let us say, clarification of near- (now, total, with Kudirat’s passing) unanimity, is contained in a full-page advertorial by the family, published in several newspapers on June 16, 1996. The signatories are, Alhaji Mubashiru Abiola, the detainee’s junior brother, and Alhaji Adio Kassim, a close family friend. It is useful to make a comprehensive analysis of the published statement.

Firstly, the family members express their gratitude to the federal military government, ‘for sending a high-powered delegation to express heart-felt sympathies over the death of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.’

INVESTIGATIONS

Mohammed Abacha and Al-Mustapha on trial for the assassination of Kudirat Abiola.

Although Kudirat was assassinated in 1996, it would not be until the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo that investigations would be properly launched into the affair. However, all the senior police and military chiefs implicated in the assassination denied having anything to do with it. Al-Mustapha said not once did he order Rogers to kill anybody and the former army chief, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi washed his hands of any ‘illegal operations’. On his own, Mohammed Abacha said he only saw Al-Mustapha giving some weapons to Sergeant Rogers for an operation but that he was not aware of the operation and did not take part in the killing of anybody.  Rogers maintained he was saying the truth and that he even got the weapons (to kill Alex Ibru) from General Bamaiyi, who was the Lagos Garrison Commander and even got cover from the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, who ordered the diversion of a police patrol team away from the premises of Guardian newspapers.

Sergeant Rogers confessing on how they killed Kudirat.

In November 2007, Mr. Mohammed Abdul, a driver to the defunct Presidential Strike Force aka Abacha Killer Squad narrated in court what happened that fateful day:

Major Al-Mustapha on trial over Kudirat's murder.

“Alhaji Mohammed called me and told me to go to Dodan Barracks in Lagos and work with the squad to carry out the said assignments.

“I went to Dodan Barracks and met Lawal, a Chief Superintendent of police and Rogers.

”I drove them to the places where we carried out the three operations. We carried out surveillance before each of the operations.

“We were aided in this task by the Personal Assistant to the late Mrs. Abiola, Alhaji Lati, who gave us the information and pointed many places to us.

”The places we visited during our preparation for the attack were Victoria Island, Igbosere, Dolphin Estate, Ikeja and Dodan Barracks, which we normally returned to after every operation.

”I am an experienced driver who knows Lagos very well. Five of us were in the team that carried out the operations.

“The five are myself, Lawal, Rogers, Aminu Mohammed, and Sunmaila Shaibu, who was later killed in a bomb blast at Abuja Airport. But Aminu only took part in the two of the operations.”

 ” Before the attack, Lati took us to Abiola’s house on Toyin Street, Ikeja.

”We actually drove in and entered the compound. Lati conducted us briefly round the compound and pointed to some vehicles before we drove out. We went to drop him (Lati) in his house at Surulere.

”On the day of the attack, we followed Kudirat Abiola’s white Mercedez Benz from Ikeja to Allen Avenue and then to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. When we got to the Toll Gate area, Rogers asked me to get close to the Benz and I did.

”Then, he (Rogers) leaned out of the window and started spraying the victim with bullets with the P 90 rifle. After, we immediately drove to Dodan Barracks.”

 “In 1999, after the arrest of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and others, Alhaji Mohammed (Mohammed Abacha) called me and told me to go to Abuja and gather up everybody who took part in the operations for the purpose of leaving the country.

“He offered us money for the travel and later gave me $10, 000. I travelled to Abuja to inform two of those who participated- Aminu and Rogers. Rogers was not interested in leaving the country.

”I travelled to Niger Republic with Aminu, but I kept $9,800 out of the $10, 000 given to me by Mohammed with a friend and went to Niger with only $200 but I came back four days later.

”When I came back I collected the money, and changed it to naira. I intended to use the money to buy a car because that was the only thing I did not have then. I already had a house.

“But on my way to where I would buy the car, armed robbers attacked me and stole the money.”

He also claimed that the P90 rifle they used in killing Kudirat Abiola and the attempted assassination of Chief Abraham Adesanya was given to them by former Zamfara State military administrator, Bala Yakubu. He also came the order to assassinate Kudirat came from Abacha.

Rogers narrate in the video below how they assassinated Kudirat Abiola:

  • On the 30th of January, 2012, Major Hamza al-Mustapha was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Kudirat Abiola. He was later freed.

Al-Mustapha during his trial.

REMEMBRANCE & LEGACY

  • MONDAY, 27TH OCTOBER, 1997: The Kudirat Abiola Corner of the 44thStreet and Second Avenue in New York, United States of America was installed in 1997 in her honour. The name change faced serious opposition from the Nigerian government and far-right American leader Roy Innis.
  • The Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) was set up by her daughter, Hafsat Abiola.
  • Radio Kudirat was named in her honour.

Every year, Kudirat is celebrated by millions of Nigerians as an amazon of justice and a martyr of democracy.

SOURCE

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation
Food and Health
40 views
Food and Health
40 views

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation

PH - October 17, 2017

Legendary Nigerian footballer and philanthropist, Nwankwo Kanu, is launching the biggest lotto in Africa to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) (www.KanuHeartFoundationNg.com) and help build…

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety
Politics
58 views
Politics
58 views

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety

PH - October 17, 2017

The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to be discharged from the suretyship, bond and recognizance of the bail of…

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases
Shocking
45 views
Shocking
45 views

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases

PH - October 17, 2017

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) yesterday has stated that 950 domestic and sexual violence cases have been reported this year alone, compared…

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem
Business
51 views
Business
51 views

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem

PH - October 17, 2017

Renowned sport analyst Biola Kazeem has taken to Twitter to express his thoughts on the inability of TSTV to commence operation 17 days after launching. He also…

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’
Entertainment
68 views
Entertainment
68 views

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’

MT - October 17, 2017

Nigerian singer Davido, who has been embroiled in some controversies recently over the death of some friends, says he ‘forgives’ all those who accused him of murder.…

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea
Entertainment
61 views
Entertainment
61 views

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea

PH - October 17, 2017

Nollywood film maker and actor, Omoni Oboli is grateful for the good news she received on her movie, ‘Okafors Law.’ Earlier this year, a court injunction stopped…

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown
Art, History and Culture
67 views
Art, History and Culture
67 views

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown

PH - October 17, 2017

Queen Chanel Chin, is the wife of Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi. Born in Toronto, Canada, Queen Chanel’s dream of coming to Africa was fulfilled when…

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)
Lifestyle
56 views
Lifestyle
56 views

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)

MT - October 17, 2017

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions that you will ever make. You are entrusting the rest of your life into the care of another human…

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
Art, History and Culture
46 views
Art, History and Culture
46 views

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait

PH - October 17, 2017

Former US President Barack Obama has handpicked artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official Presidential portrait, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced. Wiley is best known for his pieces showing African-Americans in hip-hop gears,…

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council
World Buzz
53 views
World Buzz
53 views

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council

PH - October 17, 2017

Nigeria has won a re-election into the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for the 2018 to 2020 term at an election held on Monday at the…

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates
Best of Nigeria
81 views
Best of Nigeria
81 views

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates

PH - October 17, 2017

Ololade Enikuomehin, acting vice-chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, said on Monday that the institution produced 203 first class graduates in the 2016/2017 academic session. The university also said…

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend
Entertainment
106 views
Entertainment
106 views

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend

MT - October 16, 2017

About two weeks ago, Nigerians woke up to the news of the death of one Tagbo Umeike, who was later introduced as a friend of Nigerian hip…

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams
Sports
55 views
Sports
55 views

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams

MT - October 16, 2017

Liverpool goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet was barely troubled by the Premier League’s top scorer, Romelu Lukaku on Saturday, but he is certain that important goals will come at…

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’
Politics
86 views
Politics
86 views

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’

MT - October 16, 2017

While speaking in an exclusive interview with The Sun Newspaper, achieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, state that…

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)
Inspiring
97 views
Inspiring
97 views

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)

MT - October 16, 2017

These twins’ transformation has everyone talking! Talking about transforming, here’s one. Wow! I guess They grew up Learned a few tricks about makeup and bleaching too.

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan
Politics
95 views
Politics
95 views

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan

MT - October 16, 2017

Toyin Saraki, wife of senate president led a group of women (wives of Nigerian senators) to celebrate Senator Akanbi’s wife’s 50th birthday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.…

Best Proposal Ever: Nigerian Man Stage Molestation By Soldiers Just To Propose To Girlfriend (Watch Video)
Romance and Love
88 views
Romance and Love
88 views

Best Proposal Ever: Nigerian Man Stage Molestation By Soldiers Just To Propose To Girlfriend (Watch Video)

MT - October 16, 2017

A Nigerian man teamed up with a set of soldiers just to propose to his girlfriend. The man was seen in the video pretending to be molested…

2019 Election: Buhari Remains “Unbeatable Candidate For The APC”
Politics
62 views
Politics
62 views

2019 Election: Buhari Remains “Unbeatable Candidate For The APC”

PH - October 16, 2017

Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello has reiterated the determination of the people of the state and Nigerians in general to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari continues his…

Loading...