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The final hours of Abacha, Abiola revisited – How they died

Former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, yesterday, May 30, 2016 said he would soon reveal how his boss and the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Bashorun MKO Abiola, died.

Al-Mustapha said that Abacha and Abiola’s deaths were from same source and that he would make the comprehensive revelation in his new book, Mustapha’s Memoirs, which he was still working on. 

His claim comes just days after renowned lawyer, Femi Falana alleged that former military ruler, Gen. Abdulsalami was responsible for the murders of both Abacha and Abiola.

In view of this, examines the information in public domain on how both major personalities died.



Early in 1998, Abacha announced that elections would be held that August, with a view toward handing power to a civilian government on 1 October. It soon became apparent, though, that Abacha had no intention of permitting an honest election; by April he had strong-armed the country’s five parties into endorsing him as the sole presidential candidate.

He however died to widespread jubilation and celebrations in June 8, 1998 while at the presidential villa in Abuja. He was buried on the same day, according to Muslim tradition, without an autopsy. This fueled speculation that he may have been executed extrajudicially by way of being poisoned by political rivals via prostitutes.

The government identified the cause of death as a sudden heart attack. It is reported that he was in the company of two Indian prostitutes imported from Dubai. It is thought that the prostitutes laced his drink with a poisonous substance, making Abacha feel unwell around 4:30am. He retired to his bed and was dead by 6:15am.

He was last seen alive by long time friend and confidant, Lt. General Useni.



Abiola died under suspicious circumstances shortly after the death of General Abacha. Moshood Abiola died on the day that he was due to be released, on 7 July 1998. While the official autopsy stated that Abiola died of natural causes, Abacha’s Chief Security Officer, al-Mustapha has alleged that Moshood Abiola was in fact beaten to death. Al-Mustapha, who was detained for 15 years but later released, claims to have video and audiotapes showing how Abiola was beaten to death. The final autopsy report, which was produced by a group of international coroners has never been publicly released. Irrespective of the exact circumstances of his death, it is clear that Chief Abiola received insufficient medical attention for his existing health conditions.

  • Daniel Fayemi for

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