Shinttien: When General Bamaiyi told you this and Mustapha confirmed he was told the something, what did you do?
Sabo: I advised that Abiola’s location should be changed and he said he had done that.
Shinttien: Did you attend late General Abacha burial in Kano.
Sabo: No I didn’t go because of the security of Abiola that was being threatened.
Shinttien: What happened after late General Abacha’s death?
Sabo: After Abacha’s death, there was a lot of clamouring as to who would succeed him. General Jeremiah Husseni was there clamouring to succeed Abacha and there were others. Then myself, General Magashi and Bamaiyi then met and decided that instead of deliberating on who would succeed General Abacha, succession by hierarchy should be followed with General Abdulsalami Abubakar as the head of state, General Bamaiyi, Chief of Defence Staff and General Magashi as chief of army staff, this was arrived at in order to shut out any bickering. We then called General Abdulsalami for a meeting of the PRC. It was an extra-ordinary PRC meeting because it was not scheduled.
Shinttien: Did you inform General Abdulsalmi Abubakar of the threat to Chief Abiola’s death?
Sabo: Before General Abdulsalami Abubakar was sworn-in as head of state, we all went to the villa where the body of the late head of state was lying and I told General Abdulsalami that General Bamaiyi suggested that since Abacha died, Abiola must also be killed. But General Abubakar said when they return from Kano, we would discuss further. He refused to do anything after he came back from Kano. I sent a message to him through AVM Idi-Musa that I wanted to see General Abdulsalam on the same issue but he refused to see me. I passed the information to Idi Musa that it was urgent and Idi Musa told me General Abubakar would listen to me when he returned from South Africa. He refused to see me until I was retired on July 10 1998, three days after Chief Abiola’s death.
Shinttien: Did Major Mustapha know the whereabouts of Chief Abiola at this time.
Sabo: Mustapha did not know Abiola’s whereabouts because he was arrested and detained. And since Mustapha was now out of the way, Abiola was open to any other person.
Shinttien: Is it normal for a detainee’s guard to be sent away and given tea in his absence?
Sabo: It is not normal and this is an indication of what happened later.
Gen. Sabo also alleged massive financial misdeeds by the Abdulkareem Abubakar government, saying:
“Before General Sani Abacha’s death there were bickerings from people including General Abdulsalami Abubakar that they were not being given any welfare. General Abubakar accused the service chiefs that they were the ones that had the resources but he did not have anything there was a time he asked Ambassador Zackary Ibrahim to give him N1 million urgently but Ambassador Ibrahim said he didn’t have the money. And when Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar became the head of state, he was relieved of his appointment.
“When General Abdulsalami came to power, he exhibited an accumulated and accentuated thirst for money. I stumbled on some documents and video cassettes even while in retirement.
“There was the case of $40 million contributed by multinationals for General Sani Abacha’s transmutation to civilian president. I gave the cassette of his disclosure to help him clean the system not knowing that he would use it to clean me out of the system because three days later I was arrested. I urge the commission to investigate this money contributed by multinational towards Abacha’s self-succession.
“There was also the case of Engineer Bubal Galatia, Director of NMA whom General Abdulsalami Abubakar directed to release N5 billion from the NMA to the minister through Chief Hope Ozodinma. But Galadima refused saying it was beyond his power to do so. That same afternoon, a lorry load of soldiers invaded his house managed him and took him to an unknown destination. He was ordered to put in his letter of resignation so as to look as if he resigned voluntarily but he refused and asked General Abubakar to fire him. He was fired and he was given two hours to vacate his official quarters.
“The N5 billion was to be shared like this: “1.35 to be given to the minister, Chief Hope would be given N265 million and $18 million would be given to General Abubakar. I have documents to prove this (He than tendered the documents).
“There is the issue of the printing of new naira denominations, of 100, 200 and 500. I shared Mustapha’s opinions on this which he explained in his testimony that it was a booby trap for President Olusegun Obasanjo to fail. I have 13 documents to prove this which I shall tender, before this commission.
“When General Abacha was alive the idea of the printing of new naira denominations was mooted. Three companies bided for the contract – J.B. of Munich; Thomas & Co. Of London, and Bodous of Germany. They all submitted their quotations. They all agreed on $30 per one thousand pieces but General Abacha said it was too much. The agreement was not sealed before his death. When General Abdulsalami came on board, he said it should be printed at $45 per thousand. G & D was given the contract of printing and here was the company reputed for tax evasion. The company has offices in Germany, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Argentina and other places, but only has a liaison office in Nigeria. The company evaded tax to the tune of 2 million Dutch marks in Germany. This is the same company given the job to print the money I commenced investigations into the activities of this company but General Abubakar ordered me to stop it. All these were known to him.
“The NTA in its news at 7 and 9 p.m. on January 11, 2001 reported that a container load of fake naira notes was discovered in Jos and Maiduguri. This is what I am talking about.
“During Abdulsalami’s time, our soldiers in ECOMOG were not treated well at all. General Victor Malu then ECOMOG Commander once had cause to complain of adulterated fuel sent to them. When the contract for the supply of food to our soldiers was changed, it was given to one lady; I will mention her name later.
When General Abacha was alive 45 dollars was approved a day for each of our soldiers but when Gen. Abubakar came to power he increased it. But instead of giving them the money, they were given the old rate, where is the balance?
“There is the issue of parting gift to each PRC member. N1 million was agreed as parting gift for each PRC member or 500,000 dollars. I inquired from two PRC members later differently. I asked them jokingly that I learnt you were all given ½ a million dollars as parting gift. Where is my own share now? But they told me it was only 50,000 dollars. So what happened to the remaining 450,000 dollars per each PRC member times the total PRC members?
Before General Abacha died, he left a foreign reserve of 9.7 billion dollars. There are papers to show this. But Abubakar claimed that only 7.17 billion dollars was left in the reserve what happened to the balance? This reserve that Abacha accumulated in five years, Abdulsalami depleted if in nine months.
“Eagle Square here in Abuja was being renovated yearly when General Oseni was FCT Minister. Consultants were appointed for the renovation at N230 million. But General Abdulsalami rejected this and opted for upward review of N2.3 billion as against N230m.
“Also through 59 million dollars he siphoned from government coffers he bought a house in London at 5 million pounds renovated it at 1 million pounds.
“Before General Abacha died he approved 66 million Dutch marks for the maintenance of Alpha jets and other aircraft. When Abubakar took over he wrote another memo for the sum of 44,275,000 dollars for the same maintenance. I would have wished he was here to cross check if this signature on these documents were his.
“There was also another memo from the CGS dated March 17 1999 at the injury time of the administration. There was request for the purchase of boats at 45 million dollars, purchase of amphibious plane at 21,747,660 dollars; and 5,000 rain coats jacket to cost 14,500,00 dollars. The normal cost of one rain coat to pocket were from rain is 45 dollar per piece and the total cost for the 5,000 rain coats should be 2,9000 dollars. It was signed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar to be purchased on ECOMOG issue, apart from the naval personnel that used to transport the food items, it was later given to merchant ships.
“There is the issue of Engineer Ibrahim Ali, MD of NPA. General Abubakar called him one day and told him since General Abacha did not give you free hand to do your duties, bring your quotation and I will give you the wherewithal to execute it. He brought it to Abdulsalami. He met Alhaji Gidado Idris, former Secretary to the Federation there. Abdulsalami approved it for execution but when Ali left Abdulsalami ordered Gidado Idris to fire Ali when Gidado wanted to refuse, he told him that if he didn’t do it somebody else would do it and that was how he was fired.
Shinttien: What did all these mean with respect to Chief Abiola’s security.
Sabo: All these were to show that as Chief Abiola was to show that as Chief Abiola was in the custody of Abdulsalami, if Abiola was released, he would be demanding for his mandate and this will be unconducive for him to loot the country’s treasury. General Abubakar should appear before this commission to explain, what happens to the depletion of the economy.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar set a booby trap for Obasanjo’s administration, I am not saying this to curry favour from President Obasanjo. Let us not deal only on the past of the late head of state.
Shinttien: In what other way to your knowledge has the General Abdulsalami Abubakar reduced the military to what it is now.
Sabo: Another way which General Abdulsalami siphoned money is the task force for the armed forces and the police.
On December 31 1997, N21, 270, 292,50 was disbursed to the armed forces and the police, I am not convinced the money was used judiciously, I have documents to authenticate this.
There is also the issue of N80m water project which was discarded by General Abdulsalami. He re-awarded it for 20 million dollars while 10m dollars was collected upfront. I am sure the balance was also given. I am not sure whether the water project was executed.]
Again, I did not write the above. I copied it from the Vanguard of 20 July, 2001. But because we, as a people afflicted with amnesia, have conveniently forgotten this very recent history; because the people now enjoying the so-called dividends of democracy – not the poor, ordinary Nigerians now living in near-servitude in their own country, but the elected officials – have consigned to the waste bin of history the sacrifices of people who gave their lives to wrest democracy from the stranglehold of the likes of Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar, I chose to re-publish this emotive testimony.