Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Today is Armed Forces Remembrance Day and it is a day that we are constrained to remember our fallen heroes.

Many in the younger generation do not know why this particular day was chosen to commemorate those that fell and the tragic events that led to their brutal murder.

Permit me to enlighten those that know no better and to share the facts.

58 years ago today, on January 15th 1966, a bloody, vicious, merciless, unrelenting and violent mutiny took place in our Armed Forces in which many of our reverred, respected and beloved political leaders and senior military officers, together with some members of their respective families, were humiliated, tortured, mutilated and finally murdered in cold blood.

Those that were killed were Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the old Northern Region, Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the old Western Region, Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari, Colonel James Pam, Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, Colonel Ralph Sodeinde, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, the Minister of Finance, Colonel Arthur Unegbe, Colonel Kur Mohammed, Lt. Colonel Abogo Largema, Mrs. Hafsatu Bello, the wife of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Zarumi, the bodyguard of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Mrs. Lateefat Ademulegun, the wife of Brigadier Ademulegun, Ahmed B. Musa, Ahmed Pategi, Sgt. Daramola Oyegoke, PC Yohana Garkawa, PC Musa Nimzo, PC Akpan Anduka, PC Hagai Lai and PC Philip Lewande.

Sir Ahmadu Bello

Two others were also abducted by the mutineers from their homes that night and brutalised. Thankfully they both managed to escape with their lives

Chief Remilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode KC, SAN, CON.

The first was Chief Remilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode KC, SAN, CON, the Balogun of Ile-Ife and the Deputy Premier of the old Western Region (my beloved father).

Captain Emmanuel Nwobosi

I personally witnessed some of the events of that night when, led by one Captain Emmanuel Nwobosi, they came to our home and official residence in Government House, Ibadan and abducted him.

Chief S.L. Akintola

Thankfully he was rescued later in the day by loyal troops led by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon (as he then was), Captain Paul Chabri Tarfa (as he then was) and Lt. Takoda, who stormed the officers mess in Dodan Barracks, Lagos where he was taken and was being held by the mutineers and freed him after a prolonged and bloody gun battle which resulted in deaths on both sides.

The second was Sir Kashim Ibrahim, the Governor of the old Northern Region who was rescued and freed by loyalist forces in Kaduna.

Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun

Both of these men were delivered by divine providence and went on to live for many more years and make their contributions to national development.

Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh

The coup was led by Major Emmanuel Arinze Ifeajuna and Major Chukuwemeka Kaduna Nzeogwu and 90% of the officers involved were Igbo.

Colonel Kur Mohammed

The allegation that it was an Igbo coup is accurate and factual regardless of all attempts to revise and re-write history, often by the murderers and mutineers themselves, in a futile attempt to make it look otherwise and portray themselves as patriots and heroes.

They were far from either of the two and the bitter truth is that they were nothing more than a bunch of cowardly, treacherous, self-serving, ungrateful, over ambitious, power- hungry homicidal maniacs and murderous butchers who attempted to take power through the barrel of the gun and impose an ethnic and religious agenda.

Lt. Colonel Abogo Largema

The assertion that it was not an Igbo coup is patently false and we owe it to those that lost their lives on that terrible night to at least speak the truth about what happened and who killed them.

I commend the historians, commentators and writers, including individuals like @renoomokri, who have collectively continued to pronounce and enunciate this sacred truth despite the insults and threats which they are often subjected to by those who are blind to the reality, who have no knowledge of history and who have been misguided and brainwashed into believing otherwise.

Colonel James Pam

The cycle of violence that the unprecedented amount of violence and bloodshed that took place that terrible night unleashed was horrendous and not only did it lead directly to what has rightly been described by historians as the “Northern officers revenge coup” 6 months later in July 1966 in which 300 Igbo officers and the Igbo Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi, was murdered but also to the infamous pogroms in the North where up to 100,000 Igbos were murdered by angry mobs and finally the civil war in which up to 3 million Igbo civilians and Biafran soldiers (including 1 million Igbo children) were butchered alongside hundreds of thousands of Nigerian civilians and gallant Army officers.

Colonel Ralph Sodeinde

My prayer is that we never witness or experience such bloody events in our history again but if anyone is interested in knowing where, how and why this terrible series of events and cycle of brutality started they must consider the events of January 15th 1966 when the murderous barbarians that called themselves young Army officers unleashed mayhem on our leaders and killed so many of them in the most beastly and cowardly fashion.

History records all those that were murdered that night as heroes and we shall never belittle, forget or undermine the supreme sacrifice that they made for our beloved nation.

Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari

They live on in our hearts and we resolve to soldier on regardless and make Nigeria an even greater and better country than they sought to make it and to honour their memory by building on their great and noble heritage and legacy.

Sir Kashim Ibrahim

May their precious souls continue to rest in peace, may the Lord continue to protect, comfort and bless those they left behind including their families and loved ones and may God continue to guide and lead our great nation Nigeria.

Happy Armed Forces Remembrance Day!