Bamaiyi tortured Abiola, Abacha was better than him – Gen Ajayi

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Gabriel Ajayi, one of the military officers roped in by former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, in the 1995 phantom coup has reacted to contents of the retired officer's book.

Ajayi said "Vindication of A General" contained lies, adding that he expected that Bamaiyi who tortured MKO Abiola would have apologized to Nigerians and not further insult their sensibility.

"It is not in my character to impugn the sanctity of senior military officers because we worship people like that in the military. Unfortunately, when a senior officer descends into the sewage tank, the officer cannot expect to smell of perfume", he told Punch.

"I am not obliged to speak derogatorily about Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi but he is a devious person. He is a fraud. For example, see how he bit the fingers that fed him; that is, Gen. Oladipo Diya. It was Diya that single-handedly appointed him as Chief of Army Staff during the Gen. Sani Abacha regime.

"Bamaiyi is slippery and treacherous; he had no permanent friends and had no sense of loyalty. He lived by the day. Everybody was his enemy and everybody was his friend as the need arose. He was clever by half.

"This is a man who wrote a perfect confidential report about me and two weeks later, he put my name on the list of officers planning to overthrow the government of Abacha.

"I still have a copy of the report he wrote concerning me, describing me as a distinguished Nigerian; worthy officer and two weeks later, he
withdrew the letter from where it was kept. He is not a dependable master. He is an unprofitable master. He is very clever and mean.

"If I tell you the bad comments that Bamaiyi used to make about the Yoruba, you'll be shocked, but I do not want to offend my friends in the North. He did not deserve to be given a commission in the Army; giving him such was a misnomer.

"This is someone whom I attended church service with regularly and we ate Holy Communion together. He was supposed to pray for me. He lied in his book that he didn't know about plan to arrest me but two days to the arrest, he changed the guards in my house.

"He would send officers to me, to speak ill of him, trying to entrap me. Instead of condemning him, I would implore them to respect Bamaiyi, that the commander is always right. I knew what he could be up to.

"He also knew my stance as far as June 12, 1993 presidential election was concerned; he knew my stance as far as discipline in the army was concerned; and he knew my stance as far as military involvement in political issues was concerned. He knew my stance on God. I have never wavered in all that.

"I am a book freak; I have one of the largest libraries in the Nigerian Army and I have kept a library since 1971. They looted that library. Bamaiyi is an unreliable character. He is very evil. He never read the Bible until he was sent to prison. This is somebody who said there was no God."

General Ajayi described the book as a comedy of errors and a fictional thriller.

"It should be titled, 'The platform of Mallam Bamaiyi'. Just look at him: he spoilt the name of his government and the name of his superiors. He blackmailed as many people as possible. A true general should be dispassionate and diplomatic.

"He damaged the career of so many fine military officers. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju replied him that he was lying in his book. Everybody knows he is a liar. The military knew he was a liar. How he was made to become Chief of Army Staff was a mystery to all the officers.

"Diya, a distinguished military officer, who chose Bamaiyi; even Abacha didn't want him. I guess Diya didn't know him very well. I had thought that Bamaiyi would apologise to Nigerians on behalf of the Abacha regime and ask for forgiveness rather than spew falsehood in his book. His book is full of lies."

On the claim that MKO Abiola died under controversial circumstances in the custody of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Ajayi responded: "Don't mind him. At the Oputa Panel, Gen. Sabo alleged that when Abacha died Bamaiyi said the military should 'equal the equation'."

"How could he claim that Gen. Abdulsalami should be held accountable for Abiola's death when he was among those who tortured Abiola before his death? Bamaiyi was behind many evils done under Abacha.

"Compared to Bamaiyi, Abacha was a nice man. Bamaiyi's aim through his book is to pit the Yoruba against Gen. Abdulsalami. What love does Bamaiyi have for the Yoruba to be concerned about the death of Abiola? Don't mind him; he's a liar."

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