A former Chief Security Officer to late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha has dismissed the report that his former boss died of poisoning.
There had been claims over the years that the former Head of State died after eating a poisoned apple from his concubines.
Al-Mustapha while speaking with ThisDay said that Abacha died after a brief illness.
“Abacha’s health suddenly collapsed on June 7, 1998, from the Abuja International Airport, after one of the security personnel, who accompanied President Yasser Arafat of Palestine shook hands with him.
“Shortly after the handshake, I noticed the change in the countenance of the late Commander-in-Chief, and I immediately informed the Aide-de-Camp, Lt. Col. Abdallah, who advised that we keep a close watch on him.
“Later in the evening of June 8, 1998, around 6 p.m., his doctor came around and administered an injection to stabilise him. He was advised to have a short rest.
“At about 5 a.m., the security guards ran to my quarters to inform me that Abacha was very unstable.
“When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation, I knelt close to him and shouted: ‘General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.
“I again knocked at the stool beside the bed and shouted in the same manner, yet he did not respond. I then realised that there was a danger. I immediately called the Head of State’s personal physician, Dr Wali, who arrived in the place in eight minutes from his house. He immediately gave Abacha two doses of injection, one at the heart and another close to his neck. This did not work apparently, as the Head of State had turned very cold.
“He then told me that the Head of State was dead and that nothing could be done after all,” Al-Mustapha said.