Gen Abubakar Once Convicted for ‘Tampering With Soldiers’ Salaries’ – Bamaiyi


Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar (retd) was once sentenced to two-year imprisonment for “tampering with soldiers’ salaries”, according to a book, ‘Vindication of a General,’ written by the former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya R Bamaiyi (retd).
The book, which was publicly presented on Thursday at the Nigerian Air Force Centre, Banquet Hall in Abuja, reveals the silent opposition from senior military officers over plan to have the Niger-born General succeeds General Sani Abacha who died in the early hours of June 8, 1998.
According to the book, “The problem I had convincing the senior officers to allow Gen. AA Abubakar to take over had to do with his record of conviction by a court-martial presided over by the late Col. Nenger, sometimes between 1970 and 1972, when he tempered with soldiers’ salaries and was convicted by court-martial and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Fortunately for Abubakar, his class mates at the Provincial Secondary School, Bida were at Army Headquarters. They worked it out and reduced the sentence to a reprimand. This was possible because at that time, the Nigerian Army had no Legal Department because the army did not have enough lawyers to handle one.
“Confirmation of court-martial cases was left to the Army Administrative Branch. That was how Abubakar’s conviction was changed from two years of imprisonment to a reprimand. In that case, he was not dismissed or reduced in rank, but a reprimand in the Nigerian Army is a conviction. Officers were not prepared to accept an officer with a record of conviction as a Head of State. The issue of succession now fell to me, and some of the commanding officers and the staff told me I had to take charge to save the situation. I told them I believed in Abubakar, and we should support him.”
After mobilising support for Abubakar to emerge as Abacha’s successor, some officers were later to tell him that he would regret his action. Events later proved them right.

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