Since July 7, 1998 when Nigeria’s symbol of democracy, Chief MKO Abiola dropped dead, the Head of State at the time General Abdulsalam Abubakar said his Government had no hand in his death.
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Abiola wss the late winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential electoion.
Abdulsalam said Moshood Abiola was not killed, rather he died after falling ill in detention.
Abubakar, in a live programme, debunked the speculation that Abiola died after drinking tea that was allegedly poisoned.
He said: “ Well, I smile because there were lots of allegations here and there that we killed Abiola. As always, when I am talking about the late Abiola, I still thank God for directing me on things to do when he gave me the leadership of this country.”
The ex-leader went on: “On the day Moshood Abiola passed away, may he rest in peace, two to three things make me always say I thank my God for the guidance He gave me.
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“One was, I received a delegation from America headed by Pickering, who was then, I think, the Secretary of State or so. In his team I remember very well, was Susan Rice. I remember her very well because of the role she played later.
“So after the normal courtesy and discussion we had, when they were leaving my office, Pickering said Your Excellency, we made a request to see Moshood Abiola, but we were denied. So, I said, why were you denied? who denied you? There and then, I made a decision, I said look, you will see Moshood definitely, I overruled whoever said you couldn’t see him. So, I now called my Chief Security Officer (CSO), I said, please make arrangement for this team to see Abiola, that is one point.”
He continued: “Now, during the incarceration of Moshood Abiola, except his personal doctor, to my knowledge, no member of his family saw him. So, when I became Head of State, based on consultation and interaction together with Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, I gave the family a date that they could come and see him.
“So, a day before he died, his family came to Abuja to see him. For one reason or the other, the whole family could not see him at the same time, so it was agreed that when this group of his family will see him today, tomorrow the next team will see him. So they saw him like yesterday, now this team from U.S. came to see me and I said they could see him.
“Normally, it was in the evenings the family go and see him. So because I had authorised the American team to see him, the other part of the family was waiting to see him.”
“It was at this meeting when the American team was meeting Abiola that he fell sick and suddenly the security officers called the medical team to come and attend to him, and when they saw the situation, they said it was severe and needed to take him to the medical centre. So, it was the medical team plus the American team that took him to the medical centre, unfortunately, at the medical centre he gave up.”