Sani Abacha


Sani Abacha

Infobox_President|name=General Sani Abacha
nationality=Nigerian


order=10th President of Nigeria
term_start=November 17, 1993
term_end=June 8, 1998
predecessor=Ernest Shonekan
successor=Abdulsalami Abubakar
birth_date=birth date|1943|9|20|mf=y
birth_place=Kano, Nigeria
dead=alive
death_date=death date and age|1998|6|8|1943|9|20|mf=y
death_place=Abuja, Nigeria
spouse=
party=none (military)
vicepresident=
religion=Muslim

General Sani Abacha (Kano, 20 September 1943 – Abuja, 8 June 1998) was a Nigerian military leader and politician. He was the "de facto" President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998. [Paden, John N. (2005) "Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution", Brookings Institution Press. p. 240. ISBN 0-8157-6817-6.]

Political life

Abacha was a Muslim of Kanuri extraction. As a young man, he was trained at various Nigerian and British military colleges. [http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9389478 "Abacha, Sani."] "Encyclopædia Britannica". 3 February 2007] He joined the Nigerian military and had been promoted to brigadier by 1983. He was instrumental in the two bloodless military "coups d'état" that brought and removed General Muhammadu Buhari from power in 1983 and 1985. When General Ibrahim Babangida was named President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1985, Abacha was named Chief of Army Staff. He was later appointed Minister of Defence in 1990. [Oyewole, A. (1987) "Historical Dictionary of Nigeria", Scarecrow Press. p. 385. ISBN 0-8108-1787-X.]

Abacha took over power from the caretaker government of Chief Ernest Shonekan, which was put into place by General Ibrahim Babangida after his annulment of the 12 June 1993 elections (won by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola) caused a massive popular uproar. Abacha's government was accused of human rights abuses, especially after the hanging of Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Auta tribunal (only one of several cases against Ogoni activists opposed to the exploitation of Nigerian land by multinational oil companies); Abiola and Olusegun Obasanjo were jailed for treason, and Wole Soyinka charged in absentia with treason. His regime suffered stiff opposition internally and externally by pro-democracy activists who made the regime unpopular, and responded by banning political activity in general and by controlling the press in particular; a significant fraction of the military was fired, and Abacha surrounded himself with approximately 3,000 armed men loyal to himself. His foreign policy was inconsistent. He supported the Economic Community of West African States and sent Nigerian troops to Liberia and Sierra Leone to restore democracy to that country while denying it at home.

General Abacha died, allegedly of a heart attack, in June 1998 while at the presidential villa in Abuja in the company of General Jeremiah Timbut Useni who was Chief of Staff from 1997 to 1998 and one Musa Abdullahi who sources close to the military junta claimed was the unofficial strategist and mastermind of the regime. He was buried on the same day without an autopsy fueling speculation that he may have been poisoned by political rivals. He was 54. After his death, Maj. Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Nigeria's defence chief of staff, was sworn in as the country's head of state. Abubakar had never before held public office and was quick to announce a transition to democratic civilian rule which led to the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo.Kogan Page. (2003) "Africa Review 2003/2004", Kogan Page. p. 257. ISBN 0-7494-4065-1.]

Abacha was married to Maryam Abacha and had seven sons and three daughters. [" [http://web.archive.org/web/20040408102654/http://www.cnn.com/resources/newsmakers/world/africa/abacha.html Newsmaker Profiles: Sani Abacha Nigerian President] ," "CNN"]

Controversy

Corruption allegations

The government of Obasanjo has implicated the deceased general and his family in a wholesale looting of Nigeria's coffers. The extent of his venality seems to have surpassed even that of more notorious African rulers, such as the late Mobutu Sese Seko.

According to post-Abacha governmental sources, some $3 or $4 billion USD in foreign assets have been traced to Abacha, his family and their representatives, $2.1 billion of which the Nigerian government tentatively came to an agreement with the Abacha family to return, with the "quid pro quo" being that the Abachas would be allowed to keep the rest of the money. Although this proposal caused a massive outcry at the time for seeming to reward the theft of public funds, it was subsequently rejected by the late dictator's son, Mohammed Abacha, who continues to maintain that all the assets in question were legitimately acquired. [Easterly, William. (2002) "The Elusive Quest for Growth", MIT Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-262-55042-3.] Although in 2002, Abacha's family accepted to return $1.2 billion that was taken from the central bank. [The Worldwatch Institute. (2003) "Vital Signs 2003", The Worldwatch Institute. p. 115. ISBN 0-393-32440-0.] Abacha was listed as the world's fourth most corrupt leader in recent history by Transparency International in 2004. [TI press release [http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4459/26786/file/Introduction_to_political_corruption.pdf Introduction to Political Corruption pg. 13] , London, 25 March 2004Interestingly, during a service marking the 10th year anniversary of the death of the Dictator, several former Nigerian Heads of State, including Gen. M Buhari(rtd.) refuted claims that Abacha looted the country, claiming such accusations are "baseless". [ http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php? id=113628] , [http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article03//indexn2_html?pdate=090608&ptitle=Abacha%20served%20Nigeria%20well,%20say%20Buhari,%20Abdulsalami] http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr/download_gcr/download_gcr_2004] ] Abacha had also literally laughed in the face of any possible sanctions by the United States against his government, arguing that the Americans would not do that on account that the oil companies are taking care of the Republicans and the Congressional Black Caucus takes care of the Democrats, and that all American blacks have a dual loyalty to African leaders. ["Shakedown" by Kenneth Timmerman]

The names of Sani Abacha and his widow, Maryam, [cite news |title=Nigeria recovers Abacha's cash |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/211324.stm |format= |work=BBC News | date=1998-11-10 | accessdate=2006-10-21 ] are often used in 419 scams; he is “identified” in scam letters as the source for “money” that does not exist. [ [http://server-wg.de:8080/nigeria/inhalt_a_z.html "Who wants to be a millionaire?"] - An online collection of Nigerian scam mails]

General Abacha served during the controversial execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa. On 10 November 1995, Saro-Wiwa was hanged by Abacha, resulting in the immediate suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Death

Abacha's death has been a subject of controversy, it was reported that he died of a cardiac arrest after an orgy with four prostitutes, two Indian and two Nigerian. [http://www.expressindia.com/news/ie/daily/19980821/23350964.html]

False usage of Sani Abacha's name by advance fee fraud conmen

The names of Sani Abacha, his widow Maryam, and son Mohammed [cite news |title=Nigeria recovers Abacha's cash |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/211324.stm |format= |work=BBC News | date=1998-11-10 | accessdate=2006-10-21 ] are often used in advance fee fraud (419) scams; he is "identified" in scam letters as the source for "money" that does not exist.Zuckoff, Mitchell. "The Perfect Mark." "The New Yorker". [http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/05/15/060515fa_fact?currentPage=3 3] .] Zuckoff, Mitchell. "The Perfect Mark." "The New Yorker". [http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/05/15/060515fa_fact?currentPage=3 3] .] [ [http://www.419eater.com/html/mariam_abacha.htm] [http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com//Mariam_Abacha.html] [http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/Mariam_Abacha2.html] [http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/ivor.htm] [http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/www/maryam1.html] [http://www.scamorama.com/unkindly_mariam_june2005.html] [http://www.scamorama.com/lewd_stroganov_abacha.html] [http://www.scamorama.com/unkindly_mariam.html] ]

References

External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1998/06/98/nigeria/109265.stm BBC article on Abacha]


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