A former associate of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Richard Odusanya, on Saturday alleged that the former chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees was in charge of a killer squad that was formed under the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.
Odusanya reportedly worked behind the scenes when Obasanjo was in power.
In a live interview, with an online news portal, Sahara Reporters, Odusanya alleged that the former President lodged the killer squad at a State Security Service headquarters, known as ‘Yellow House.’
He appeared on the programme alongside Mr. Segun Seriki, a PDP member in Ogun State and a member of the House of Representatives in the Third Republic, under the Social Democratic Party.
According to Odusanya, the squad was used for political assassinations and was responsible for the unresolved killings of politicians under Obasanjo’s administration.
He further alleged that Obasanjo knew about the murder of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and a South-South politician, Chief Harry Marshall.
Odusanya said, “I believe that a killer squad created during the Abacha regime was kept by Obasanjo and housed at SSS headquarters, known as Yellow House, and was used for political assassinations.”
Explaining Obasanjo’s alleged link with Ige’s death, Odusanya said, “The night Chief Bola Ige was assassinated, a top PDP member confided in me that Obasanjo told him Bola Ige was down.”
Concerning the murder of Marshall, he said, “I also took a gift to Marshall and he was assassinated just a few weeks later.”
Odusanya also alleged that the ex-president benefitted from an account with the defunct Trans-International Bank and that from the funds in the account, Obasanjo, asked him to deliver a Peugeot 607 and the sum of N500,000 to a woman (name withheld).
When contacted for Obasanjo’s comments, his Chief of Staff, Mr. Victor Durodola, said his boss was not available to react to the allegations.
He challenged those who made the allegations to come out with their evidence.
Durodola said, “The former president is not available. Therefore, he is not in a position to respond to the allegations. However, my personal comment is that these are people who indulge in blackmail.
“Why are they using online television? They should come to Channels, AIT, or NTA; these are television stations that are known.
“Definitely, that is not Obasanjo’s character they are describing and everybody knows that. Of all the military rulers, the issue of killer squad cannot be attributed to him. That was not his style. He is not around now but I doubt if he would even give it any attention whatsoever.
He stressed that the ex-president could not have been responsible for the unresolved killings under his administration.
He further argued that Obasanjo had no reason to be involved in Ige’s assassination.
“We would like to see it (the interview) but these are issues you know cannot be possible. The killings were unresolved, yes, but you know that nobody could have attributed that to him. He would kill his minister for what? So that he (Obasanjo) could be minister?” Durodola said.
Another Obasanjo aide, Vitalis Ortese, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the allegation was a non-issue.
He said, “I don’t know them. Let them prove the allegation. I don’t know any Segun Seriki or Richard Odusanya.”
Also reacting to the allegations, Bola Ige’s eldest child, Mrs. Funsho Adegbola, told SUNDAY PUNCH that her father’s killers are still alive.
Adegbola, a lawyer, called for the reopening of the Bola Ige murder case.
She said, “I can’t put anything past them. I haven’t seen the interview. I don’t know the content of the report but I can’t put anything past them. I believe the people who killed my father – the foot soldiers and the people who sent them – are alive. They are not people from Mars.
“A murder case can go on for 30 years or more. If there is political will and the government wants to show that people should pay for their crimes, this can be done. The family can’t do anything about it because it is the state versus the suspects. The family can’t sue; it is the state that can take action.”
Ige, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was shot dead in his Ibadan home on December 23, 2001.
Following a mass protest over the killing, the Federal Government had deployed troops in the South-Western state to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
While security agencies had arrested some suspects allegedly involved in the murder, including the then deputy governor of Osun State – Ige’s home state – Mr. Iyiola Omisore, they were however discharged and acquitted.
Just like Ige, Marshall Harry, who was the National Coordinator, South-South geopolitical zone of the All Nigerian Peoples Party Presidential Campaign was murdered by at his No,28 Karaye Close, Garki II, Abuja residence on March 5, 2003, barely a month to the presidential election in which Obasanjo was re-elected.
The ANPP chieftain was said to have been killed in the presence of his daughter and his niece, Loliya Harry.
The only security guard in the house, Mr. Polini Aniya, said the assailants numbering about five forced their way into the ANPP chieftain’s residence around 3am.
The ANPP, and it presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, had insisted that agents of the PDP and Federal Government assassinated Harry.
At Harry’s burial ceremony, Buhari, alleged that in its desperation to rig itself into power, the PDP-controlled Federal Government bankrolled assassins to eliminate political opponents.
After the incident, the police arrested four suspects in connection with the murder.
However, after seven years in detention, the accused standing trial for the murder were discharged and acquitted by an Abuja High Court.
The court cited lack of enough evidence to sustain the charge against them.