True Life Stories- Assassination of Murtala Muhammed

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True Life Stories- Assassination of Murtala Muhammed

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 on agenda in mind; to kill the then Head of State , General Murtala Muhammed .
According to the lone survivor and orderly to the Head of State, Staff Sergeant Michael Otowu, who recalled the event of that day in an Interview with The Authority Daily, he narrated;
“On the morning of that February 13, we were going to the office. Sergeant Adamu Michaka 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, as 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 Alagbon junction, near the labour office.
The official car was a Mercedes Benz 600. It is still at the national museum. There was about four or five vehicles in front of us. You know, at that junction, there was traffic. During his time, we didn’t go out with sirens or escorts with accompanying out-riders, road-closed signs and all that, and so when we got to the Alagbon junction, the traffic warden stopped the vehicle and we were in a queue. We were the fifth or sixth vehicle behind the forward vehicles that were stopped.
That secretariat was under construction, so they put zincs around the compound behind the 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 waiting for us. Then one soldier from Golf road shot and got our driver, Sergeant Machika, our motor was neutralized.
Between me and the driver was an arm-rest. On the 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 the mosque, he doesn’t like to go 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 Bourdillion- our own was at Ikoyi Road. It happened that we were the first target that moved early from the house to the office.
Before Obasanjo and TY Danjuma moved to their offices, they had 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 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 in the mortuary, at my hand started shaking and one of the attendants saw it and called the nurses or doctors and said somebody was alive.
They checked and confirmed that I was breathing, so they looked 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.
Murtala, along with his entourage, was killed in a hail of bullets, a task that was made all easier because the only visible sign of protection was a pistol carried by his Orderly.
His assassination was part of a coup attempt led by Lt Col. Buka Suka Dimka, who was the head of the Nigerian Army Physical Training Corps.
He was succeeded by the Chief of Staff, Supreme HQ Olusegun Obasanjo, who completed his plan as an orderly transfer to civilian rule by handing power to Shehu Shagari on October 1, 1979.
Today, Murtala Muhammed’s portrait adorns the 20 Naira note and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos is named after his honour.
Source:, Ourpage9ja

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