Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Between Colin Powell, Abacha and Dr Ogunade's false claims

In the wake of the anniversary of Sani Abacha's death 11 years ago today, one of his friends has come out with some insights on the man especially in light of Colin Powell's recent revelation in Abuja last week that he advised Abacha against the coup that brought him to power in 1993.

But whatever credibility Dr Ogunade would have wanted attached to his interview in The Nation (Sunday, 7th June, 2009) has been rubbished by some of his claims. I will point out 2 obvious ones.

His claim about Abacha attending the 'School of Assasins' a.k.a School of the Americas in Fort Benning is false. That School of Americas now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation caters for training to military officers from Latin America.
The Fort Benning base in Georgia is also home to the United States Army Infantry School which is where Abacha might have attended his training, though the only record of a US training on Abacha's CV was at the Senior International Defense Course at Monterey, California in 1982. Two Nigerian officers who definitely trained at the Infantry School were former Chief of Defence staff, Alani Akinrinade and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar who was there between 1975-1976.

One other claim of Dr Ogunade's which calls into question the rest of his assertions is that he "was there when Paul Kagame graduated from Fort Bening".
President Kagame attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1990, but according to Stephen Kinzer's biography of Kagame, he left a few weeks into the course without completing it to lead the RPF whose leader Fred Rwigyema had just died. So I don't know which graduation Dr Ogunade claims to have attended.

His other claims might have some truth to them, but we'll have to take them with a huge spoonful of salt.

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