Bello told Nzeogwu: “I am the one you are looking for”, “Abubakar Umar, the Sardauna’s Private Secretary, who was on a visit from Kano and was accommodated in the guest wing of the house, heard a loud noise and saw the chaos from his room with soldiers everywhere. Notably, he did promise in his speech that every law abiding citizen would enjoy all the basic freedoms especially freedom from fear of oppression. Relations between Ojukwu and Nzeogwu deteriorated further as Nzeogwu made no secret of his desire for a united Nigeria. PAY ATTENTION: install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app. Such strong views on secession did not make him best of friends with Ojukwu as they rarely saw eye to eye on the issue. Tuesday, August 4, 200. I believe he probably would have been tried for his role in the January 15 coup, jailed and probably freed after some time. Conscription by Nzeogwu meant being taken to the front line and faced with grave danger. He was travelling in an improvised armoured vehicle (known as a “Biafran Red Devil”) that had been converted by the ingenious Biafran engineers from a Bedford truck. Nzeogwu himself demanded to know who Ahmadu Bello was and there was a resident of the house who looks a little like the late Premier but wasn’t as tall. We were chatting and noticed it was getting late and the Premier had still not sent for us, so we decided to go home. He played till about 11:30 pm when suddenly the late Alhaji Ali Akilu, who was the Secretary to the Northern regional government, then-Commissioner of Police M.D Yusuf and Brigadier-General Samuel Ademulegun, all three of them, came and went straight to the office asking to see the Premier. Although Ojukwu gave Nzeogwu the Biafran rank of Brigadier, he was not given any formal command in the Biafran army. He was admired for his intelligence, warmth and charm. Mamdap claims that it was not known that Nzeogwu was inside until the corpses were dragged out. In the present circumstances, confederation is the best answer as a temporary measure. He was shot, along her, as they embraced each other”, “Akintola then said he had come with a plane, so they could go some place like neighbouring Niger, where his best friend was then the president. He will always come to our house for steaming hot meal of pounded yam. Personally, I don’t like secession and if this country disintegrates, I shall pack up my things and go. The Prime minister, a federal minister, two regional premiers and top army officers from the northern and western regions of the nation were brutally murdered. A personality cult bordering on hero worship grew up around him in the Eastern Region and he was being feted as an immortal indestructible warrior. Your comment..The killings of Ahamdu Bello and Tafawa Balewa were most unfortunate… it is bad where people kill their best brain…I watched a video of Tafawa Balewa being interviewed by the British press then before Independence.. the way he spoke marvelled me…with such eloquent speech devoid of grammatical errors,tenses n syntax were perfect..being only a primary school teacher…was outstanding to say the least…we lost good people…. Ojukwu’s mixed race half brother Tom Biggar was also killed along with Nzeogwu. L ast week marked the 42 nd anniversary of the death of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. Possible winner of US election revealed as global poll picks between Trump and Biden, Nigerian doctor says she turned cleaner in Finland for more than 4 years, warns people against traveling there, many react, My everyday crush: Odunlade Adekola celebrates his beautiful wife as she turns a year older (photo), It will not happen to me again - Rahama Sadau breaks down in tears as she apologises over controversial photos (video), install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app, Saraki reveals why Senate wants to remove president's power in constitution amendment. Major Kaduna Nzeogwu inspired and frightened with equal measure. He would impulsively conscript other soldiers to join him during these raids. The vehicle’s improvised armour withstood their bullets until it was attacked with the fearsome 106mm recoilless rifle which pierced its body. According to him: “We were five in number, and initially we knew quite clearly what we wanted to do. He came out and said he was the one, but they knew he wasn’t. He was free, so I put him through. “You have to understand the work of the Premier then was a 24-hour affair, no Saturdays or Sundays off. The immediate pretext was Nzeogwu’s involvement in a battle simulation military training exercise in Abakaliki and other towns in the Eastern Region. His death was regrettable.”. In time, we shall have complete unity. In conspiracy rife Nigeria, all manner of rumours and apocryphal stories have alleged that Nzeogwu was murdered in a Machiavellian plot engineered by Ojukwu to eliminate him or perhaps that he was killed while trying to defect to join the federal army. Lt-Col Patrick Anwunah described Nzeogwu as “a radical and an inwardly insubordinate young officer who was full of his own ideas and probably thought he had the answers to all problems. He is also worried about my popularity among his own people. Recalling that Nzeogwu had turned the night time training “Exercise Damissa” into a full blown coup the previous year, Ojukwu banned all such further exercises. Advertisement McEnany took to her Twitter page on Tuesday... On the evening before the tragedy, on the 14th of January, 1966, at about 8:00pm, late Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa called and wanted to speak to the late Premier. - Major Chukwuman Nzeogwu was a young army officer who plotted the military coup of January 15, 1966 which led to the death of many senior Nigerians - The prime minister, a federal minister, two regional premiers and top army officers from were brutally murdered in the coup His death was regrettable.” Five decades after his death, there is still yet to be a consensus on whether he was a hero or felon. He said there was nobody else in the house. Recalling that Nzeogwu had turned the night time training “Exercise Damissa” into a full blown coup the previous year, Ojukwu banned all such further exercises. Nzeogwu died in the final week of July 1967. fter Akintola left, it was too late for Bello to go and play his favourite game, Fives. Nzeogwu died in the final week of July 1967. Learn More. The interview did not go down well with Ojukwu and Nzeogwu’s words to Ejindu were the last official statements attributed to him before his death. Akintola took the Premier’s advice and returned to Ibadan.”. He quickly called the Private Secretary to the Premier, Ali Akilu who told him what was happening, that it was perhaps a coup. © 2014 - 2020 | All Rights Reserved | OldNaija. He was at various times secretary and director of administration of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Affairs in Kuru, permanent secretary, ministry of police affairs, chairman of Productivity, Prices and Income board, permanent secretary ministry of aviation and permanent secretary ministry of finance. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. For his role in Nigeria’s first military coup, Nzeogwu was imprisoned by the military regime of Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi at the notorious Kiri-Kiri maximum security prison in Lagos. He was killed in action and his corpse was subsequently identified. Even though war between Nigeria and Biafra was imminent, in April 1967 Nzeogwu was suspended from all military activities by Ojukwu. Major Nzeogwu was a welcome guest in my parents’ home. After serving in The Congo in 1961, Nzeogwu was assigned as a training officer at the Army Training Depot in Zaria for about 6 months before getting posted to Lagos to head the military intelligence section at the Army Headquarters where he was the first Nigerian officer. 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I think they were about six soldiers. The soldiers said if they were not told who Ahmadu Bello was in the group, they would shoot everyone. He was so hopeful about the country Nigeria that he not completely ruled out secession of any region as impossible. We obviously see things quite differently after what he did to my supporters in January 1966. Nothing will stop that.”, READ ALSO: Soldiers encounter bush pig in Sambisa forest (photos). He was feared because of his suicidal courage. The forerunner of the Nigerian army intelligence corps (NAIC) was the field security section (FSS) of the Royal Nigerian army, which was established on 1 November 1962 essentially as a security organization whose functions included vetting of Nigerian army personnel, document security and counter intelligence. Relations between Ojukwu and Kaduna Nzeogwu got bad enough for Ojukwu to consider putting Nzeogwu back in prison. He and Ojukwu did not see eye to eye. The telephone call by Umar saved him.”. Idris later became was permanent secretary in Kaduna state from 1971 to 1975, secretary of the constitution drafting committee in 1975, secretary of the constituent assembly that produced the 1979 constitution and clerk of the national assembly in 1979. When we came out, we were not aware that by then soldiers had already taken position around the compound. The end of the coup saw the murder of Premiers of Northern and Western Nigeria. Despite the fact that Nzeogwu was now technically an enemy soldier killed in combat against the Nigerian army, Gowon ordered that Nzeogwu’s body should be flown to Kaduna and buried with full military honours – even as the war raged on in the Eastern Region. Earlier, he had been told that the Premier of the West, Samuel Akintola, was coming to see him but the arrival was still some time away. While there is consensus that he died, exactly how he died and at the hands of whom has remained in dispute. But then I saw the then-deputy Commissioner of Police, an Idoma man whose name escapes me, heading in the direction of the Premier’s house, as did late Haruna Musa, the Principal Secretary’s security detail. Reasons being that he is said to be the leading brain behind the first military coup in January 1966 which was tagged an ‘Igbo coup’ leading to a counter-coup in June of the same year, the aftermath of which led to the secession of the Biafran territory and subsequent war. The Mid-west was never a big problem. Nzeogwu was believed to have stepped on toes of army officers in his capacity as a military intelligence officer and even clashed with the minister of state for the army, Ibrahim Tako Galadima, also known as Galadima Bida.
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