The former Chief of Staff to the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Lt-Gen Oladipo Diya has been confirmed dead at the age of 78.
As earlier reported by Naija News, this development was made known in the early hours of Sunday by his family.
Diya served as the chief of general staff to former head of state Sani Abacha between 1994 and 1997.
Following his death, below are some important facts to know about the late military officer, Diya.
1. Oladipo Donaldson Diya was born in Odogbolu in Ogun State on April 3, 1944.
2. He joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna at a youthful age and was part of the active soldiers who fought during the Nigerian Civil War between July 6, 1967, and January 15, 1970.
3. The late Diya studied Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
4. Prior to his appointment as Abacha’s second in command, Diya had served as the Chief of Defence Staff and Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.
5. In 1993, he was appointed Chief of General Staff and later Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.
6. On December 21, 1997, the Abacha regime arrested top army officials including General Diya, Major General Tunji Olanrewaju, Major General Abdulkarim Adisa, and eight others for allegedly plotting to “violently” overthrow Abacha.
7. Just one week before his arrest, Diya had allegedly narrowly missed becoming the victim of a bomb explosion at the Abuja airport when he was on his way to represent Abacha at the funeral of the mother of Major-General Lawrence Onoja in Benue State.
8. Diya in collaboration with Bamaiyi and other notable officers had demanded four things from Abacha when they noticed that he was beginning to nurture the plan to transmute as president for life, which were:
i. That the original draft of the 1995 constitution should be promulgated without the mutilation to which Abacha was subjecting the document.
ii. That the June 12 crisis be resolved and along with it, the release of political prisoners which included the winner of the 12 June 1993 presidential elections, Bashorun MKO Abiola.
iii. That Abacha should make an unambiguous public pronouncement that he had no intention of succeeding himself.
iv. That an attempt to eliminate Yoruba military officers should be terminated.
9. Diya was tried in a military tribunal and was given the death penalty. Fortunately, upon the sudden death of Abacha in 1998, Diya was pardoned by the late Head of State’s successor, Abdulsalami Abubakar.
10. Lieutenant General Diya was not only released but also discharged from the army, stripped of his rank, and barred from using his military title.