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Nigerians will be shocked if they knew the truth

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Former Chief Security Officer (COS) to late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, has disclosed in an interview with The LEADERSHIP, that there are secrets he cannot disclose yet, but that Nigerians would soon be shocked by the truth that has been kept from them for many years.

He said the country is held hostage by powerful forces within and outside the country who for years, made sure the masses are kept from knowing the real cause of their affliction.

While maintaining the narrative that his former boss, Late General Sani Abacha, meant well for the country, he said there was similarity between how Abacha and Abiola whom the country remembers every June 12th, died.

He said at the time, Abacha took over power, the country was already in distress. He said the Abacha “government was sworn in virtually with empty coffers: it had nothing in foreign reserves; a government that was struggling to even pay salaries – that was what he inherited. “There was nothing when he came,” he added.

He said Chief Ernest Shonekan inherited $200 million as Nigeria’s foreign reserves, but for the three months he presided over Nigeria, “I don’t think there was anything that came in because it was all along crisis time.”

This ‘crisis time’ was a reference to the effect of sanctions imposed on Nigeria by western governments following the annulment of the 1993 elections and the emergence of Abacha via a military coup which followed. But this was where things began to go bad for the country.

He said a country already under distress, is now slammed with sanctions whose effects are sure to be dire, although the coup by the Abacha government was meant to bring stability to the country which he said managed to still happen, as he died leaving behind about $9 billion dollar in the nation’s foreign reserves, from almost zero when he took over.

When asked to clarify the alleged Abacha loot and the stories around it, he said the sanctions placed on the country in 1993 and 1995, placed the country in a dire situation, and ways to ease the impact on the people were sought-after. This includes doing some dirty stuff like the creation of foreign accounts from which Nigeria could be importing things through them directly. In this way, the country would circumvent the sanctions, thereby push away the effect of any form of hardship inflicted by previous sanctions.

This he said was learnt from the Libyan government which at the time, had surmounted its challenges having been under sanctions as well.

He said, “As of 1994 when the first coup was foiled, Libya was exactly 11 years old with sanctions on them, and so managing sanctions depending on the type was something for Nigeria to learn. Coincidently, I was one of those sent to Libya to study why after 11 years of sanctions of all kinds, yet Europeans countries – Italy, Spain – prefer coming to Tripoli to do shopping and go back across because they were buying things cheaper.

“How Gaddafi did it was something to learn from. That was a preemptive measure for a country that had just been taken over by a new government without money and with threats of sanctions from G7 countries. It was a herculean task because the country should first of all work in a way that it should survive it; so we went, bought some things and returned. In fact, our second trip to Libya on modalities of containing sanctions was equally at the very material time that the Prime Minister of China was on a tour.

“So while I was there, because the threat was serious – to block many things coming to Nigeria and also to blackmail the government – Gaddafi in his wisdom spoke to the Chinese president and the premier was told to come to Nigeria for a two-or three-day visit and General Abacha should begin to engage China. Before we could return, he had arrived.

“He stayed in Nigeria for two and half days. That was when railway contracts were initiated, that was when the issue with NNPC in terms of China buying our oil directly was also signed, that was when the Ministry of Agriculture sought for some certain support and China signed with them. That was when there was some ratifications on international trade in favour of Nigeria from Chinese and some of their allies. Soon after this, the United Kingdom became disturbed, America became disturbed and they began to look towards adjusting their sanctions.”

Speaking further, he said, “The leaders of these two countries (UK and US) attempted to talk to General Abacha. For this, obvious threat came and it culminated in when the then foreign minister went for the Commonwealth meeting, Nigeria was insulted deliberately and the then foreign minister threatened – with the contribution and the leadership Nigeria had been given to Commonwealth and with the benefits coming to the Commonwealth headquarters or the masters themselves, yet they could look at Nigeria in that way – it was not out of place for Nigeria to withdraw.

“That became a very serious issue; so the United Kingdom began to now talk to numerous personalities in Nigeria, talk to numerous members of the Commonwealth in Africa, talking to General Abacha; the tension was so high, so there was the need to consult elders in Nigeria, north and south.

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