Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Abacha Coup - Diya, Gwadabe, Others for Presidential Pardon

Abuja — PRESIDENT Umaru Yar'Adua is expected today to grant full pardon to many Nigerians, especially soldiers convicted of treason by the General Sani Abacha administration in the mid-1990s, a senior government official said.

Among those expected to be pardoned are Abacha's erstwhile second-in-command, Lt. General Oladipo Diya, who was Chief of General Staff in the administration, former Communications Minister, Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Colonel Lawan Gwadabe, Col. R.S. Bello Fadile, and others.

Among those expected to be pardoned are Abacha's erstwhile second-in-command, Lt. General Oladipo Diya, who was Chief of General Staff in the administration, former Communications Minister, Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Colonel Lawan Gwadabe, Col. R.S. Bello Fadile, and others.

However, many more others will get their pardon post-humously. A major post-humous beneficiary would be Major-General Abdulkarim Adisa, who died in a car crash along the Ilorin-Ajase-Epo road in Kwara State.

Most of the 68 Nigerians to be pardoned are former high-ranking military officers. A presidential advisory committee has recommended that the 68 Nigerians, most of whom are no longer in detention, receive a full pardon allowing them to regain property and retirement benefits, the source close to Nigeria's Council of State said.

Scores of security officials and prominent personalities, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, were rounded up and jailed by Abacha for what have since been largely dismissed as phoney coup plots in 1995 and 1997.

Yar'Adua is expected to announce a total of 169 pardons to the Council of State, which is composed of 36 state governors as well as former Heads of State and Chief Justices. Most of those due to receive clemency are in their 60s and above.

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