Wednesday, December 9, 2020 8:18 am
By Shehu Sani
On the 8 December 1997, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’adua died in Abakaliki Prison in Ebonyi State. He died while serving a life sentence after being convicted for treason by the Late General Sani Abacha military tribunal in Lagos.
I was arrested in Kaduna in March 1995 and flown to Lagos where I met the late Yaradua who was also arrested and brought to Lagos.The late Tafidan Katsina and I were both taken directly to Kiri Kiri Maximum security prison and thrown into the cell with other inmates.We were kept in Block 2 of the awaiting trial section.The late Fela tried to visit me in the cell but was denied access and the late Gen Hassan Usman Katsina tried to intervene to secure our release but was rebuffed.Falana and late Chief Gani tried to reach out to us but were also denied access.Local and international rights groups started campaigns and protests.Balarabe Musa,Col Dangiwa Umar and late Dr Bala Usman started agitations for our release.
After spending about three months in the cell,we were picked up from our cells and taken to a Special Military Investigation panel headed by Gen Felix Mujekpero.I was seriously grilled.Other young military officers were tortured by the panel.They were striped naked and beaten with iron cables.I can hear them screaming and screaming.
They wanted to torture me but changed their mind seeing how slim I was and I was just in my 20s.During the period of the interrogations,they brought Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was earlier arrested.Obasanjo saw me and smiled.The likes of Col Lawan Gwadabe and Col Bello Fadile were all beaten and tortured in my presence.
Weeks later,Dr Bako Ransome Kuti and some journalists like Kunle Ajibade of The News Magazine,George Mbah of Tell,Ben Charles Obi of Classique were all interrogated.
After the interrogation,I was arraigned before a military tribunal headed by Gen Patrick Aziza and sentenced to life imprisonment.Obasanjo,Bako and the Journalists were Also convicted for life.Gen Yaradua and others were sentenced to death.The late President Umaru Musa used to visit us in prison and later stopped when the DSS started harassing him.Some of the late Yaradua’s allies who remained in touch with us while we were in prison were Atiku Abubakar,Toni Aneneh,Yomi Edu.I will always thank my friends Comrade Suleiman Ahmed and Nasiru Abbas
Late Shehu Musa Yaradua was a very courageous soldier.He never for once shown any sign of weakness or regrets throughout the period of his imprisonment up to his death.May Allah forgive his soul and grant him Aljanna firdausi.Amin…..let me just stop here.
-Senator Shehu Sani, human rights activist, writes from Kaduna.