Former Army Officer Released 25 Years After Abacha’s Regime

A  former Army officer sentenced to life imprisonment during the era of the late General Sani Abacha, shared his experience a quarter-century after the incident. 

Fadile, an ex-intelligence military officer, spoke exclusively to journalists on Saturday, vividly describing his unexpected release on March 4, 1999.

Having spent his prison term at the then-Argungu prison, now known as the Kebbi State custodian centre, Fadile revealed that he faced court-martial for advocating a non-violent composition of an interim government to replace the military junta led by his then-friend and boss, Abacha.

Speaking of the moment of his liberation, Fadile recounted, “25 years ago, in the early hours of March 4, 1999, I had a tap on my cell window. I got up and went closer, discovering the unexpected news from the warder on duty. He conveyed, ‘Oga, you don free, congratulations sir, start packing your things, you are going home.'”

Remarkably, Fadile received this news while on a three-day dry fasting and prayer. “It was the beginning of the third day,” he noted, emphasizing the spiritual context of his release.

Expressing his astonishment and gratitude, Fadile further shared, “I asked him, ‘What did you just say?’

 He replied, ‘Yes sir, you are to be released today, sir.’ I did not say anything. I just believed him and rushed to the general open cell opposite mine to share the news with two other inmates who were on a three-day dry fasting with me, seeking the face of God in my situation.”

Fadile’s journey to freedom continued as he prepared to leave, only to discover that the Officer-In-Charge of the prison informed him that former Head of State, retired General Abdusalami Abubakar, had granted him a pardon.

Recalling the moment, Fadile stated, “The Officer-In-Charge came to my cell and said, ‘Doctor, you are free to go. 

The Head of State and Commander-In-Chief, General Abdusalami Abubakar, has granted you and your colleagues a state pardon. Congratulations, sir.'”

Concluding his reflections, Fadile expressed gratitude to General Abdusalami Abubakar and others involved in the struggle for democracy. 

He commemorated the 25th anniversary of breathing the air of freedom, extending blessings to the Nigerian Military and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It’s worth noting that Fadile was not the sole individual imprisoned during Abacha’s reign; former President Olusegun Obasanjo also faced a 30-year sentence, later gaining freedom after Abacha’s demise in 1998.

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