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5 Aug 2017

Hidden Secret: Former Minister, Babatope explains why Abiola was not released from prison

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Board of Trustees, and former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, has revealed those responsible for late Head of State, General Sani Abacha’s failure to release late MKO Abiola from prison.
In an interview with Sun, Babatope, who served as a minister in the Abacha’s authoritarian government, said some Yoruba leaders told Abiola not to accept freedom.

According to Babatope, him and other Southwestern cabinet members had pleaded with Abacha and all arrangements were made to get Abiola out of prison but the NADECO leader told him not to accept the release offer.

He said, “I have no regret serving Abacha, neither do I have apology to offer anybody. Nigerians have been very unfair to Abacha.

“Abacha was ready to release Abiola, but it was these NADECO leaders that told Abiola not to accept the release offer.

“Those of us that were ministers from the South West including myself, Mrs Mobolaji Osomo, late Dr Olu Onagoruwa and Elder Wole Oyelese, went to plead with Abacha to release Abiola.

“Even around that time, former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings was in Nigeria and he also pleaded for Abiola’s release.

“Abacha agreed and everything was being done to facilitate Abiola’s early release. The then Chief of General Staff, Lt-General Oladipo Diya even sent an executive jet to Benin to go and bring the judge, who was to handle the matter.

“But what eventually happened, NADECO leaders told Abiola not to accept the bail offered him.

“So, Abacha had no blame over the continued incarceration of Abiola, it was NADECO leaders that should be held responsible.”

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