How we arrested Buhari during 1985 coup- Abdulmumini Aminu

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One of the officers who participated in the arrest of then Head of State, and current President, Muhammadu Buhari, during a military coup on August 27, 1985, Abdulmumini Aminu, has stated that contrary to claims, he and his colleagues never handcuffed Mr. Buhari upon arrest.

Mr. Aminu, a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army, also said in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday that contrary to believe, he was the one who led a team of three Army officers to arrest Buhari.

There are speculation that Mr. Buhari was arrested by the Immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, during the coup that saw the emergence of Ibrahim Babangida as military president.

“I must confess that I led that operation. I went to Dodan Barracks that time in company of two other officers – then Major John Madaki and Lawan Gwadabe. Three of us went, but specifically I was the one that went upstairs to bring Buhari,” Mr. Aminu said.
The retired colonel, who was also a one- time military administrator of Borno state, denied mistreatingMr. Buhari while arresting him.

He said he had and still has deep respect for Mr. Buhari and that he still remain an admirer of the President and could not therefore have shown him any disrespect.
“With due respect, I have been reading in the papers and listening to radio, people saying that we manhandled him, we disrespected him.  That was not true. I and General Buhari are the only two who knew what transpired upstairs and there was nothing like that.
“We gave him his absolute respect as a superior, because even before that time, we had absolute respect for him, because of whom and what he was. We respect him a lot till today and there is no animosity between us and he knew it was a military assignment that we were carrying out from our superior. He even told me at one time.
“So for us, it is just like the other way round of when he came to power during the anti-Shagari coup. I was among those who played a major role in getting him to power. So, he knew the role I played. And even Buhari knew in 2003, I was arrested because of him. That time, I supported him. I worked for him at that time, without even him knowing anyway, but he later knew. You see, once you believe in somebody and you know he has the capability, you can do anything for him without even him knowing,” he said.

Mr. Aminu said it was a “blatant lie” reports that Mr. Buhari was handcuffed.

“It is a blatant lie. In an operation of that nature, we don’t carry handcuffs,” he said
He however, admitted that he did not salute the then Head of State at the time because the flag had been lowered.

“I did not salute him because according to military tradition and norms when the flag is lowered, you can only pay compliments the way you deem fit, not salutation.
“We met at 2 a.m. and at that time, we don’t salute because the flag is down, until 6 am again when the flag is up. To insinuate that he was handcuffed, that is far from the truth. We only accorded him all the respects he deserved. I still hold him in very high esteem,” he said.
The ex-military administrator also gave insight into the ongoing insurgency in the north east which began in Borno state where he was a Military Governor.

He blamed authorities for not tackling the incident at its preliminary stage and allowed it to fester, hence the difficualty in arresting the situation.

Mr. Aminu recalled that while he was governor in old Borno (comprising Borno and Yobe States) there was a security challenge caused by the proliferation of arms and ammunitions from the political uphealvals in nearby Chad Republic.

He said he brought together all security agencies in the state and adopted what he called an “unorthodox method” of dealing with the situation.

He said plain cloth security men use buses to infiltrate criminal gangs.
“I ordered the purchase of two buses used by security personnel in civil dress and unarmed. That was how we were able to check the insecurity.
“They would think that they were ordinary people and we arrested many of them, sometimes we killed some. And from there, we had a lot of information until we checked the criminals and that was how we eliminated them right from the beginning,” he said.

Mr. Aminu however, said the Boko Haram crisis had metamorphosed into a serious problem for the Nigerian government now.

He said it has gone beyond insurgency because al-Qaeda and ISIS are being alleged to be involved or supporting Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“They are using armoured vehicles, heavy machine-guns and sometimes helicopter. So it is not a child’s play. I’m happy that they have taken full military operation to bring to an end the problem of insurgency in the Northeast.

Mr. Aminu also said if the concept of National Gurad as put in place by the Babangida administration in 1993 was allowed to thrive, the unit would have checked and nip in the but most criminal activities including insurgency before they get out of hand,
“I recall that in early 1993, during Babangida’s administration, National Guard was established and I was the pioneer commander. When it was established, Abacha was vehemently against it, because the military, the police and other security agencies saw it as a rival organisation.

“The military and politicians were not comfortable. Some say Babangida established the unit to enhance his stay in power but that was not the idea. Before it was established, I went to seven countries that established similar outfits. When I came back, we even started sending people for training, suddenly it was abolished.

“Believe me if that outfit was allowed to thrive, armed robberies, kidnappings and all these would not be, because we could have curtailed them from the onset. We could have had the intelligence to discover all these things. That was our mandate. No security outfit had that kind of mandate and our training was geared towards that. The essence at that time was to establish it as a fighting force as well, so that if there was any attack on Nigeria, it would be the National Guard who would take the first shot to stand the enemy. If it gets to the point that they cannot cope, then the military comes in,” he said.


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  • Otile

    Nobody should believe that Colonel Abdulmumini Aminu and his gang did not mistreat Imam Buhari in captivity. It is like Imam himself claiming that he did not mistreat Dr Ekwueme when he held Ekwueme captive in Kirikiri prison. When it comes to the treatment of their captives sojajin Najeriya are known to be sadists. Abacha fed our brother Ogagun with human excrement, whipped General Diya with kobo. I am surprised that various world Human Rights organizations look the other way when Northerners commit such abuses, maybe they fear that the Northerners might unleash suicide bombers on them for speaking out.

    • Otile

      I mean to say that Abacha whipped General Diya with koboko.

  • burning spear

    The fact of the matter is that the country was placed in ruins by these Fulani Animals IN THE ARMY–nOT A SINGLE SOUTHERNER WAS WITH THEM WHEN THEY WENT TO ARREST BUHARI -to enable us confirm the rubbish–from this man——-That is to tell u how the country is being run—and destroyed———-with their surrogates from the south—in civilIAN TOGA–would the Fulani have found them worthy if Buhari was still in the army? – In his first outing all his ministers were from the Fulani North—-None from the south was trust-worthy enough to participate with them—–Now Buhari has started destroying the country and the oil wells again while the house-boys from the south keep quiet————-animal

    • Bash

      Who is this baboon who don’t have any iota of home training to know that it is wrong to insult people?

    • Alibiu

      Tam david west is a fulani man. Wow news to me. Wonders s never end. Bigot on the go.

    • nick

      buhari had Tam David west-South south,as the (minister of petroleum)(,commader Emeka omeruah- South East as( minister of information)Justice Chike offordile South East (Minister of Justice)patrick Koshoni South south(minister for Works)Emmanuel Nsan-south south(minister for health)..tribalism have beclouded everything about you.please read your history and stop misinforming people…lastly let your conscience be ur judge.

      • bode

        Patrick Koshoni was chief of naval staff from lagos state when Emmanuel Nsan was work&housing minister

  • Prophet Thimothy Omerigwe

    Complete nonsense! If this useless retired Colonel & his team had done their job properly that day, there wouldn’t have been Sambissa today.

    • AboubakarAlahmad

      Right!Tafidan Dogon Daji.

  • Nnnenna

    Lies. Lies. Pure lies. U have respect for someone who couldn’t pass Secondary school exams and smuggled himself into the army with incomplete results? I pity you bro.

    • AboubakarAlahmad

      Nnnena,go and read the history of your ancestors for you to know who you are.Tafidan Dogon Daji.

    • anwari

      That person is now your president whether you like it or not. Shame on you.

    • Tunsj

      You are a Clown. What is your own qualification? You and your online trolls keep on posting this trash that doesn’t make any sense at all. You are insane.

    • tundemash

      You are still stuck here ???

      • aisha ani


    • Nigerian

      Still in slumber??? Wake up, Boy.

  • AboubakarAlahmad

    A decorated monkey is still a monkey,Col AbdulMuminu.Hold back your respects as nothing concerns President Buhari.
    What you and your friends did in 1985 was never in the interest of this our great nation.You only helped to entrench indiscipline,corruption,nepotism and all sort of vices that formed the cumulative after effects of that infamous coup.Tafidan Dogon Daji.

  • Orkaambe

    why are events from a 1985 arrest relevant today? this is completely irrelevant. i just hope that at some point, the Nigerian media will try to be more responsible and offer the country news reports that make sense. dwelling too much on sensationalism and a deliberate attempt at discord does this country no good. if Buhari was arrested, so what. hundreds of people get arrested everyday in Nigeria. the media must focus on intelligent issues that will broaden public discourse in furtherance of national development.

    • tundemash

      Maybe to disprove the hallucinations of the Jonathanians who claimed Dasuki was put under house-arrest last week because it was e who arrested Buhari in 1985.

  • jeff

    Buhari was a ruthless dictator, he is allegedly rehabilitated now and that’s why he was elected but if you mistreated him then. I believe he probably deserved it, because he did the same to other at that time… quit treating him like a bloody saint..!!!

  • robo

    Career in ‘couping’

  • favourtalk

    So, Dasuki can keep quite now since his lies are no more relevant.
    Nigeria needs to move forward even as the military believe in thier own for the past years and till now