By Khaled Maiwada Abdulsalam,
One night, sometime in April, 1978,at around 8:45 PM, the then Lt. Sambo Dasuki , went into the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Samaru Campus, students’ hostels and surreptitiously whisked away, all his relatives, who were then students at the school and drove them to their Kaduna family abode and comfort zone, some 45 minutes drive away.
Then the following morning, by 6:00 am, he led a troop of some drunken soldiers and started the unprovoked massacre of innocent and unarmed students of the same Samaru Campus of the university. These students had earlier the previous day demonstrated against the police brutality culminating in the killing of their colleague, Akintunde Ojo, of the University of Lagos who demonstrated against government decision to increase by over 200% students’ feeding costs and other university related fees.
The Pearl Ivory Tower of the sub-Saharan Africa ,the pride of the North, the largest university south of the Sahara and north of the Zambezi, the Ahmadu Bello University and its students, the future leaders, were to experience an unprecedented invasion and high level of violence for the first time since the University was establishment in 1962. This carnage was to result in many students killed, brutalised, maimed in hundreds while scores of some female students were beaten and raped. This is the first case the law of karma was going to record against Sambo Dasuki.
Not yet done with the massacre within the campus, Lt. Sambo Dasuki and his corps of anti Northern elements, yes Northern elements, who they regard contemptuously as their slaves, that is the talakawas of Arewa, a group of people, who Sambo and his ilk believe do not deserve education because the Dasukis believe that education is Haram to the masses, since it frees and liberates the average Northerner who lacking in education is held in perpetual feudal bondage, slavery and exploitation( The genesis of BOKO HARAM),therefore in a blitzkrieg, Dasuki, further invaded the neighbouring Samaru village in pursuit of the escaping students and ABU workers where he and his troops continued the killing, looting, maiming and the torturing.
By the time they stopped firing, 2 days later, at the innocent chaps, many a promising young Nigerian students lay dead, among whom was one gentle and handsome chap from Daura(named withheld) and married to my female cousin from Kano.
While in Samaru village, the rampaging soldiers who had earlier looted the students kitchens and stole food items, went and looted all the Indian hemp and Burukutu joints, continued killing, raping and maiming innocent citizens with such ferocity that you wonder why today as the most powerful and extremely rich National Security Adviser, he could not unleash such similar degree of violence against the insurgent Boko Haram who hold a large portion of the territorial integrity of Nigeria and are also killing and destroying anything ‘standing’ including foetuses in their pregnant mothers’ womb.. Why? They are partners in the planned destruction of the whole North and Muslims. And also killing Christians, in order to pitch the two camps in an orchestrated war.
During the Samaru massacres from my hiding position, I witnessed one particular brutal incidence that to date haunts me and other eyes witnesses, how some cowardly soldiers took aim and fired shots at one innocent 2 year old toddler, an innocent toddler, oblivious of the happenings around and toddling across the street to his house. The impact of the bullets hitting his head, shattered his little skull to pieces.
While the ground troops were busy killing the innocent students, university workers along with the Samaru villagers fighter air planes were also hovering above the students intimidating them and monitoring their escape routes and movements and relaying same information to the ground troops for easy kill.
All these atrocities were credited to Lt. Sambo Dasuki. It is sad that the Nigerian army could promote such characters to the coveted rank of a colonel a Colonel whom I know has only the ABU massacre of defenceless and unarmed students to his credit and as his only highest battle experience that he and all those other cowardly soldiers ever participated in throughout their unenviable military career characterised by the destruction of the Nigerian nation, stealing, murders and other acts of state brigandage, insubordination, destruction of the military command structure, salutation and espirit de corps. Typical example was when such ”Godfathered” junior officers and would condescendingly and contemptuously point and poked at the noses of their battle tasted superior generals and ask who is your father in Nigeria and I insult you what can you do?”
And if these officers have ever had any battle experience, It was none other than the next battle which was the cowardly raiding of the unarmed General Muhammadu Buhari’s house on the night of 26th august, 1985. On a Muslim holy day of the Arafat and the big Sallah day in Nigeria.
Some of these soldiers, throughout their military careers have nursed more whiskey glasses, women’s’…. and pepper soup plates than guns and bullets in defence their citizens and the territorial integrity of Nigeria. Today they are more at home with real estate business in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos than the battle ground in the bushes of Sambisa forest.
These two battles that Dasuki ever experienced, and his failed attempt to whisk away his father to Cameroons, who was then placed in exile ,in Jalingo, by the no nonsense General Sani Abatcha, these were the only battles that earned him and five other traitor-quislings their ranks of colonel, which all the five of them, traitors, could not go beyond as rightly predicted and told to them to their faces by their calm and brave prisoner, General Muhammadu Buhari himself , at the time they surrounded his house with numerous armoured tanks during the process of the overthrow of his nascent but very popular Murtalarist government in August 1987.
The armoured tanks and ground troops used to arrest the poor, unarmed Buhari, just one single soul, armed only with his patriotism and integrity were so formidable that the arsenal and the ordnance used could shame the legendary might of the invisible Armoured Afrika Corps of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the desert fox, in the famous battle of El -Al’ amen Egyptian deserts which led to the death of over 50,000 troops of the allied forces during WW11.
Since that attack on ABU Zaria, this Africa’s most prominent university was never to rise to prominence again and its graduates were covertly expunged from sensitive government services because they are often found too patriotic and honest to be used in pillaging the nation’s treasury instead of developing it.
Since that attack by Dasuki and co. on 27th August,1985 at the residence of the kind and gentle General Muhammadu Buhari and the subsequent overthrew of his government, the Nigerian society in general and the ”Nigeria armed forces, in particular, became an armed forces of anything goes” as rightly observed by Lt. General Ibrahim Salihu, a former chief of army staff. The once proud and civilian- friendly Nigerian armed forces experienced such a mortal decline in morale and lose of prestige in the eyes of the public that will take a lot of work for it to rise again.
Corruption by top officers and commanders of the armed forces who are more comfortable as oil and gas merchants and Abuja property developers and other business entrepreneurs, became the order of the day resulting in many several cases of court martial that sentenced to the some soldiers and the sacking of over 4000 from the rank and file. The resultant collapse of respect and distinguishing of ranks and command structure led to the attacking of a whole divisional commander by his own soldiers(WHAT!) for sending poorly kitted troops with such refurbished old discarded ordnance in insufficient rations to face the now better armed and better paid tag-tag soldiers. There was also the case of the shooting and murder in cold blood of a the retired general Mamman Shuwa, a national hero, in his house guarded by 10 soldiers.
The self inflicted and deliberately imposed decline in Nigeria’s military prowess reach such an extent that, the once highly disciplined and feared Nigerian armed forces, respected all over the world, now could not even defeat a stone throwing ragtag army of the famished and hungry battalion of civilian Almajirai made up of nail cutters, shoe shiners, water vendors, date palm petty traders and beggars.
Since that time, when the Dasukis, stroke August 1985, the train of Nigeria’s progress started declining and moving in reverse gear towards the deep ravine of a deadly cliff, fortunately when the ill driven train was just about throwing the nation into catastrophic Armageddon, suddenly Nigerians were awaken up from marabouts and ritualised induced slumber and in a jiffy and unison, the waken nation shouted ”NO! NO!! NO!!! We are free citizens of Nigeria and we demand equality in Nigeria. We are no longer under your magic spell again, we are no longer in bondage ,we cannot be your blind zombie slaves again and enough is enough” and then Nigerians freed from bondage patriotically brought back to saddle and power, the same General Muhammadu Buhari, the Buhari, who the Dasukis of this world and their local and international mentors, for their selfish , unpatriotic reasons, wickedness and arrogance of inherited birth status removed from office.
As a three times former students’ leader in ABU Zaria in the 70s (FEGOCOJOSA,HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTE and ABU STUDENTS UNION GOVERNMENT) I shall call on ABU alumni, Basico class77 and graduating class of ’81 all students organs in ABU,NANS etc to start preparing proceedings to arraign Sambo Dasuki his cohorts and mentors before the ICC in Hague for his crime against humanity. Yes, one day for the thief and another day for the owner.
By Khaled Maiwada Abdulsalam, 07036178166, @ my own Business. Apapa- Lagos