In 1983, when Major Bamidele got wind of the coup to oust Shagari, Bamidele reported the issue to Major General Buhari who was up the chain of command to him in the 3rd Armored Division. Meanwhile, Major General Buhari was allegedly in on the plot (This is called telling a story to who owns the story).

To prevent Bamidele from leaking the plot, Buhari ordered the arrest and detention of Bamidele for two weeks. Bamidele wasn’t released until the successful execution of the coup. Learning from this unfortunate experience, Bamidele didn’t report any rumors of the so-called Vatsa coup (between 1985 and 1986) and was executed for it.

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Bamidele’s words to the Special Military Tribunal that tried and convicted him are:

“I heard of the 1983 coup planning, told my GOC General Buhari who detained me for two weeks in Lagos. Instead of a pat on the back, I received a stab. How then do you expect me to report this one? This trial marks the eclipse of my brilliant and unblemished career of 19 years. I fought in the civil war with the ability it pleased God to give me. It is unfortunate that I’m being convicted for something which I have had to stop on two occasions. This is not self adulation but a sincere summary of the qualities inherent in me. It is an irony of fate that the president of the tribunal who in 1964 felt that I was good enough to take training in the UK is now saddled with the duty of showing me the exit from the force and the world.”

Details

Bamidele’s reporting of the December 31, 1983 Coup plot to Major General Muhammadu Buhari

In October 1983 during an official trip to Kaduna to print his divisional brief for the Chief of Army Staff Conference, Daniel Bamidele heard of rumors about a planned coup against President Shagari. When he returned to Jos he promptly reported to his General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (who, unknown to Bamidele at that time was in the thick of the plot). A week later, Bamidele found himself on a plane to Lagos, detained by the Directorate of Military Intelligence at Tego Barracks and accused of plotting a coup against Shagari. Fake witnesses were paraded and a mock interrogation contrived, while reports were being made to the NSO (then under Umaru Shinkafi) to mislead the Shagari regime. Meanwhile, the real plot continued underground with the full involvement of the same Military Intelligence group that was interrogating him. Finally, on November 25, 1983, with no credible witness to nail him, and no legal basis to charge him for a one-man conspiracy, Bamidele was released. He returned to Jos, befuddled about what had actually transpired, until on January 1, 1984, his own GOC, Buhari, to whom he had reported the plot, emerged as the new Head of State!

In early 1984, Bamidele’s name was listed for retirement. However, when the list got to Buhari for approval, he crossed Bamidele’s name out – recognizing that the officer was caught in a complex vortex and web of intrigue. After being saved from retirement at the last minute he got deployed to Jaji as a Directing Staff.

Arrest and execution for failing to report the alleged Vatsa coup conspiracy

Bamidele was implicated in the conspiracy because of a meeting at a guest house in Makurdi with Lt Col Michael Iyorshe and some other officers (Lt Col Musa Bitiyong, Lt Col Christian Oche, Wing Commander Ben Ekele, and Wing Commander Adamu Sakaba) where political criticisms of the Babangida Administration were made but no seditious nor operational coup details were discussed.

Though the connections to any coup are arguable, Bamidele, learning from his ordeal in 1983, kept quiet about any coups, was arrested, tried by a special military tribunal and was executed by firing squad on March 5, 1986, along with others such as Major General Mamman Vatsa. Bamidele’s words to the tribunal were

“I heard of the 1983 coup planning, told my GOC General Buhari who detained me for two weeks in Lagos. Instead of a pat on the back, I received a stab. How then do you expect me to report this one? This trial marks the eclipse of my brilliant and unblemished career of 19 years. I fought in the civil war with the ability it pleased God to give me. It is unfortunate that I’m being convicted for something which I have had to stop on two occasions. This is not self adulation but a sincere summary of the qualities inherent in me. It is an irony of fate that the president of the tribunal who in 1964 felt that I was good enough to take training in the UK is now saddled with the duty of showing me the exit from the force and the world”

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Nigerian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Bamidele

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Siollun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowa_Omoigui

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