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12 Dec 2017

How Abacha Died a Day Before Effecting Plans to Shutdown Punch Newspaper

It has been revealed that the late Nigerian military dictator, Sanni Abacha, died a day before his plans to shut down The Punch newspapers were to be effected.
Chief Ajobola Ogunsola

While speaking during his introductory remarks at a public lecture delivered by a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, former chairman of Punch newspapers, Ajibola Ogunshola, revealed that the late military dictator, Sanni Abacha, died a day before effecting his plans to shut down the paper.

According to Premium Times, Ogunshola, who was the chairman on the occasion which also marked the launch of “Defend the Defenseless”, a book written by Arese Carrington, regaled the audience with tales of the role played by the press during the struggles for democratic rule under Abacha.

He also explained how The Punch was shut down by the military when he was the company’s chairman, adding that the first was shortly after Carrington was accredited on November 9, 1993.

He said; “During the years of military rule, the press as a whole suffered. The National Concord and The PUNCH bore the brunt of the fate that befell newspapers and some magazines.

“One of the journalists in detention then, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, after his release, said that when under incarceration, he got information from some soldiers on June 7, 1998 that Abacha had concluded plans to close down The Punch again. But the day after, that was on June 8, Abacha died,” he narrated.

Ogunsola explained that Carrington, in what was against the norm, stood fearlessly against the military junta and joined in the struggle for democracy.

The former diplomat was U.S. ambassador to Nigeria between 1993 to 1997 and he is renown for his fearless stance on issues of human rights and democratic freedom.

The late Abacha ruled Nigeria as a dictator between 1993 and 1998, after taking over power from the interim government of Ernest Shonekan in a bloodless coup. He was notorious for his clampdown on pro-democracy activists and the press.

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