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Gen. Murtala Mohammed Would Have Survived Buka Dimka’s Bullets Of 1976 Coup, Says Orderly |The Republican News

*Coup plotters returned to finish him off

*Obasanjo, TY Danjuma were lucky

*I was dumped in the mortuary for dead

Had the coup plotters led by Lt. Col. Buka Suka Dimka not noticed the door of General Murtala Muhammed’s Mercedes Benz car open minutes after it was sprayed with bullets from AK-47 assault rifles, triggering another round of firing, perhaps the late Head of State would have survived the brutal attack.

The lone survivor and Orderly to the late Head of State, Staff Sergeant Michael Otuwu, broke his silence in a highly emotional interview with The AUTHORITY Daily, nearly 40 years after the tragic incident.

According to the Orderly, on their way to work on the morning of Friday, February 13, 1976, the Head of State left his personal house in Ikoyi and was headed to work in Dodan Barracks, the seat of government, which he said was being renovated at the time.

Otuwu disclosed that beside the Head of State was his ADC, Lt. Akintunde Akinterinwa, himself (Otuwu) directly seated in the front passenger’s seat, with Sergeant Adamu Michika behind the wheels.

According to the Orderly, as the unsuspecting car of the Head of State stopped before a row of cars at a junction, he noticed a man in a traditional attire, babanriga (he later identified as Dimka) who approached the car, removed the flowing robe and pulled out an AK-47 rifle, shooting the driver in the head point blank.

According to the Orderly, having disabled the car by killing the driver, other soldiers clad in robes, ran towards Murtala’s car and opened fire.

“The Head of State, his ADC and I all ducked while the shooting lasted,” narrated the Orderly, sobbing uncontrollably as he recalled the traumatic incident. After the shooting, Otuwu continued, he heard the gunmen running towards the Radio House.

A few minutes later, he continued, he noticed that the injured ADC opened his door, apparently to come to the aid of the equally injured Commander-in-Chief.

According to the Orderly, the opened door alerted the assailants that the occupants of the vehicle were not dead – and this prompted the coup plotters to return a second time to, again, open fire on the car in order to finish them off. He passed out.

According to Otuwu, Generals TY Danjuma and Olusegun Obasanjo were lucky because they were also targets but escaped because they did not leave for their offices as early as Murtala did and they heard the radio announcement which may have fatefully altered their movement plans.

According to Otuwu, who enlisted in the Nigeria Army in 11 September, 1967, he had moved early that morning with the late Head of State from his Ikoyi residence to Dodan Barracks because the overthrown General Yakubu Gowon had not evacuated the official residence and it was not yet renovated.

His words: “I was his Orderly throughout to his last day during the Dimka coup. I was inside the car with him when he was killed.

“On the morning of that February 13, we were going to the office. Sergeant Adamu Michika was the driver; Sergeant Akintunde Akinterinwa, his ADC, sat behind the driver. As an Orderly, I was in front with the driver.

“While the Head of State sat behind me – I was the one who opens the door for him. That fateful day I came up in the morning to carry him to the office in Dodan Barracks. We got to the former Secretariat, now at Ikoyi, which was under construction.

Before the place they call Alag bon junction, near the labour office. The official car was a Mercedes Benz 600. It is still at the National Museum. There were about four or five vehicles in front of us. You know at that junction there was traffic. We didn’t go with sirens. During his time we didn’t go with escorts with the accompanying out-riders, road-closed signs and all that.

So when we got to the Alagbon junction, the traffic warden stopped the vehicle and we were in the queue. We were the fifth or sixth vehicle behind the forward vehicles that were stopped. That secretariat was under construction.

They put zincs around the compound behind that secretariat. Then some soldiers came in Agbada carrying AK-47 rifles. “They wore uniforms but covered them with Agbada. They had their Kalashnikovs with Agbada cover-up in form of camouflage. We never knew they were even waiting for us. Then one soldier from Golf Road shot and got our driver, Sergeant Michika. Our motor was neutralized.

“Between me and the driver was an arm-rest. On that arm-rest was Oga’s brief case. In this brief case he puts civil dress he could use as needed. When he wants to go to Mosque, he does not like going back to Ikoyi to change.

“Then some other soldiers converged on us. I can’t recall their number. They began to spray us from the back. All of us took cover. I fell on top of the driver; the blood of the driver covered my head. They thought the bullet got my head.

“After the first shooting and without return of fire they must have assumed that we were all dead. The shooting was actually in two phases. They ran to the NBC to announce the assassination. They shared themselves into three.

“There was a group waiting for Obasanjo when he was about to go to the office. Also another group was waiting for TY Danjuma at Bourdillon – our own was at Ikoyi Road. It happened we were the first target that moved early from the house to the office.

“Before Obasanjo and TY Danjuma moved to their offices they have already heard the radio announcement. By the time of the first shooting, we being the target and their running to NBC to go and announce that they have already finished their assignment, the ADC who was still alive, thinking they were gone, opened the door of the Benz.

“In the first spraying of the car, except the driver who was killed, the three of us were injured but not dead. On observing the car door opening, one of the attackers, still within range, a Major, called to the others: “he never die, he never die.” He was calling his group to return.

“This time around when they came back they finished their entire magazines. That was what happened. They carried everybody to the mortuary at Igbosere Hospital, not far from Kam Salem Police Headquarters. Because of the extreme cold of the mortuary, my left hand started shaking and one of the attendants saw it and called the nurses or doctors and said somebody was still alive.

“From there they checked and confirmed I was still breathing. So they had to look for a vehicle to carry me to Dodan Barracks. From Dodan Barracks they looked for an ambulance and carried me to a hospital, Awolowo Road hospital, a military hospital.”

Otuwu, who hails from Kogi State, spent six months in the hospital after his miraculous survival. He has not been recognized by the army or the state. Presently, he does a few jobs for late General Murtala’s son, in Abuja.

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1976 Coup: The Killing Of Murtala Mohammed By Lt.Col. Bukar Dimka

DimkaCoup
Since history is not taught in Nigerian schools due its ban by the past military government, efforts are always made by The Republican News to bring some historical facts to its audience and readers from all levels of the society within Nigeria and outside.
Here is a very important piece of history that most Nigerians know vaguely about and it would be nice to brgin it to their knowledge and to educate the youths about the country’s past.
Here is excerpts from the 1976 coup, which is dubbed Dimka coup
February 13th, 1976 Coup
 
When Lt. Col. Bukar Dimka of the Nigeria Army Physical Training Corps stepped out of his official residence on Macpherson Road, Ikoyi, in the early hours of February 13, 1976, he had one agenda in mind; the killing of the then Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed.
 
He achieved that criminal act by gunning down the Kano-born head of state a few minutes after the latter left the Dodan Barracks, Obalende, the official seat of the Federal Military Government at the time.
 
Muhammed’s official black Mercedes Benz was riddled with bullets near a petrol station on Bank Road, (now Murtala Muhammed Drive) opposite the Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi. Killed along with him were, his ADC, Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa and driver.
 
After the assassination, Dimka had made a broadcast at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) studio in the following words;
 
‘’Good morning fellow Nigerians, This is Lt. Col. B. Dimka of the Nigerian Army calling.
 
I bring you good tidings. Murtala Muhammed’s deficiency has been detected. His government is now overthrown by the young revolutionaries. Any attempt to foil these plans from any quarters will be met with death.
 
Everyone should be calm. Please stay by your radio for further announcements. All borders, air and sea ports are closed until further notice. Curfew is imposed from 6 am to 6 pm. Thank you. We are all together.”
 
Two days after Muhammed was assassinated, Dimka was declared wanted for treason and murder by military authorities. He was eventually caught at a checkpoint at Abakaliki on March 5, 1976, and brought to Lagos the following day.
 
On March 6, 1976, the Federal Government promptly issued a statement on his arrest as follows: ‘’His arrest followed a massive manhunt operation mounted by a combined team of the Army and Police in the area.
 
‘’The previous day, Lt. Col Dimka had checked in at a local hotel in Afikpo under the name of Mr C. Godwin of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Enugu. Later, on his request, the hotel manager secured for him a girl, Miss. Beatrice Agboli, with whom to spend the night.
 
‘’A few hours later, the local Police security was alerted and they closed up on him. At about 10.30 pm, he bolted away through the window of the toilet of his hotel room into a nearby thick bush, abandoning his car with a dangling registration number ECC 6253.”
 
‘’The continuous joint manhunt operation by the Army and Police resulted in his subsequent arrest near Abakaliki.’’
 
Barely few hours after he was brought to Lagos, he was interrogated by the military Board of Inquiry led by Major Gen. E. O. Abisoye.
 
However while Dimka was being quizzed, 32 people including Major Gen. Illiya Bisalla, who had already been tried for their roles in the attempted coup were executed in Lagos on March 11, 1976.
 
The only civilian executed among them was Abdulkarim Zakari, a graduate of University of Ibadan, who was said to have led Dimka and others into the studios of the NBC on February 13, 1976. The broadcaster was also cited as the man who signed for martial music records from the NBC library the previous night.
 
Just as the first batch of coup plotters was executed, Dimka’s trial begun after he was presented to the press on March 11, 1976.
 
Handcuffed, Dimka who wore a kaftan dress watched journalists listen to a tape recording of his appearance before the board of inquiry for about five minutes. He confirmed that the voice on the tape was his own and that it was a recording made during his interrogation. He emphasised that the statement was not made under duress.
 
According to a Daily Times publication, ‘’13 Years of Military Rule 1966-79’’ the highlights of Dimka’s confessional statements included, ‘’Frankly speaking, I should say the beginning of the coup idea was around January this year (1976).’’
 
He said he had discussions with some persons including former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon in London and when he returned to the country, he decided to assign responsibilities to members of the young revolutionaries conscripted into the plan.
 
But Gowon, who was in exile at the time denied any prior knowledge of the coup attempt.
 
Dimka also claimed the coup plot was hatched by young officers who resolved not to involve any Lieutenant Colonel and above except himself in a bid to effect a change of government.
 
In his confessional statement, he said, Gen. Bisalla had complained to him and expressed his frustration that despite being a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), each time there was a decision to be taken, he was either sent to one place or the other.
 
Dimka said ‘’ Bisalla told me that whatever will happen he want us to go ahead, and work out the details.’’
 
Explaining how responsibilities were distributed, the leader of the coup plot said ‘’ When I met Major Rabo, he said that he had finally distributed responsibilities. Major Rabo was for target one- Head of State, Lt. Dauda was for target two- Lt. Gen. Obasanjo, Lawrence Garba was for target three- Lt. Gen. Danjuma.
 
‘’Major Gagara was for Ilorin and Sokoto, Jos had nobody. The main centres of operations were Kaduna, Ibadan, Benin where there are Radio stations’’.
 
He also listed the targets of attack, that is, those to be eliminated as the Head of State, the four GOCs, Col. Babangida, Col. Bajowa, Col. Mohammed of Sokoto, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo of Kwara, Col. Abdullahi of Jos and Col. Jemibewon of Ibadan.’’
 
Dimka also confessed before the military board of inquiry how Zakari showed him the NBC broadcasting section on February 12, a day before the coup attempt.
 
On how the ex-Head of State was killed, he said ‘’ I stood at George Street with Major Rabo to wait until such a time when the Head of State’s car was coming out. There, one Capt. Malaki who was to give the warning order. Capt. Malaki was to be on the watch to signal Major Rabo and Lt. William Seri on the approach of the vehicle. So I came up and I was at the petrol station waiting.
 
‘’I was behind while we were talking when the Commander –in-Chief’s car passed. In fact, I did not even see it until when Malaki said the car has passed. So, we rushed in and then followed and the car was held somewhere just opposite the petrol station.
 
‘’Lt. Seri was approaching the car when we stopped and Major Rabo rushed to him, then the firing started. ‘’
 
Dimka confessed that after the Head of State was assassinated, he went to the NBC and made his broadcast that the young revolutionaries had taken over the government.
 
At the end of his trial, coup leader and a number of others were found guilty of treason and murder. Their death sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Military Council.
 
Dimka and seven others were eventually executed by firing squad at Kirikiri Prisons on May 15, 1976, for their part in the abortive coup. Also executed by the squad was the former Governor of the then Benue Plateau State, Joseph Gomwalk.
 
However, two NCOs, Sgt. Clement Yildar and Corporal Dauda Usman escaped and were never found. They were declared wanted by the authorities.
 
The situation led to the promulgation by Olusegun Obasanjo regime of certain retrospective decrees and new military laws justifying mass executions for coup participation.
 
FRANCIS FAMOROTI.
 
××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××
 
Fellow Nigerians,
This is Lt. Col. BS Dimka. I now explain why we the Young Revolutionaries of the Armed Forces have found it necessary to overthrow the six-month-old government of Murtala. On the 29th July 1975, the Government of General Gowon was overthrown. Some of the reasons given for the change were:
 
a. Corruption
b. Indecision
c. Arrest and detention without trial
d. Weakness on the part of the Head of State
e. Maladministration in general and a host of other malpractice.
 
Every honest Nigerian will agree with me that since the change over of government there has not been any physical development in the whole country generally.
 
All we have is an arbitrary dismissal of innocent Nigerians who have contributed in no less amount to the building of this great nation.
 
A Professor was arrested, detained, dismissed and later taken to court on an article which every honest Nigerian will agree that all the points contained in that article were 100% truth.
 
The sad point about it all is that those who initiated the retirement or dismissal exercise are the worst offenders.
 
You will be informed about the ill-gotten wealth in my next announcement.
 
The acting General Manager of the Nigerian Airways was invited to the Dodan Barracks and detained without trial.
 
The people of this country have been living in a state of fear.
 
The Armed Forces promotion exercise is still fresh in your minds.
 
Whatever reasons they have for the promotion one can only say that they are ambitious.
 
They, in fact, took over power to enrich themselves.
 
We are convinced that some of the programmes announced for a return to civilian rule are made to favour a particular group.
 
To mention only one. Maitama Sule is a politician. But has been appointed Chief of Commissioners for Complaints.
 
This is to prepare him for the next political head at all cost.
 
How many of you know that Maitama Sule is on a salary of N17,000 p.a.?
 
In view of what I have just said and a lot more which time will not permit me to mention, we the Young Revolutionaries have once again taken over the Government to save Murtala from total disgrace and prevent him from committing further blunders and totally collapsing the country before he runs away in the name of retirement to enjoy the huge fortune he got through bribe which he has now stored outside this country.
 
I believe that charity should begin at home.
 
Please stay by your radio for further announcements.
 
We are all together.
 
Courtesy of Dawodu
www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

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