By Bashir Adefaka
Some of the officers and families of those convicted in the 1997 alleged coup have reacted to the claim by the former Chief of General Staff, Lt. General Oladipo Diya, that his pardon by government had been formalised with the payment of his entitlements. They said if Diya said so, “it means only him has been truly pardoned and benefited.”
Diya was the lead figure in the coup, purportedly staged to oust his boss, General Sani Abacha.
On March 12, 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan announced state pardon for three out of six officers involved in the alleged coup: Diya, General Abdulkarim Adisa and Major Fadipe. The other three, General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Col. Jando and Lt. Col. Akiyode, were left out. But out of the three that were announced to have been pardoned from the group, only Diya has come out to confirm it and the payment of his entitlements.
A member of the family of one those reportedly pardoned, who spoke from Abuja in reaction to the revelation by Diya, expressed disappointment. “Even at that, it baffles me to note that General Diya has only minded his own here and not concerned about others that he led into troubles,” he said.
When asked, based on the Diya’s interview to confirm whether or not she had received her husband’s entitlements, wife of the late Adisa, Modupeola, said the family was baffled when they read Diya’s interview, saying they had got nothing.
“I read all the papers where General Diya confirmed that he had truly been pardoned and paid all his entitlements. And then I sat down to say, what is happening? They know how many people were involved. How come Diya alone is the one they have truly pardoned and paid his entitlements? What about others?
“I have visited Lagos ten times to see General Diya but it was either they said he traveled to London or somewhere else. I have sent so many people to him; no one has seen him to speak with him about the matter. I went to the Chief of Army Staff, the immediate past one and he said it was the gazette they were waiting for before they could pay. Does it mean that they have now seen the gazette and then paid General Diya? I know they will eventually pay us because these things are ours, but the earlier the better,” Adisa’s wife said.
When asked whether he had been paid, General Olanrewaju, a former Minister of Communications, said he saw and knew nothing about pardon and receipt of entitlements. His position, it was learnt, came from the standpoint of the fact that his name was not one of the three names consistently announced by the President’s aides as pardoned.
Olanrewaju, however, seized the opportunity to appeal to Mr. President to ensure that the other three, including himself, who were not pardoned should be pardoned and paid.