Abacha kept me in rat-infested custody, says Osoba

Former Ogun State Governor Chief Olusegun Osoba has recalled his detention experience during the dictatorship administration of late General Sanni Abacha, explaining that he was kept in rat-infested custody.

Penpushing reports that Osoba made this known in his authored book, ‘Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics’, adding that he was arrested for participating in the formation of  National Democratic Coalition(NADECO), a pro-democracy group

The journalist turned politician said the coalition was formed by 49 Nigerians, including himself, who were leaders of the major democratic and progress organisations, which resolved to create a nationwide broad-based political reform where all democratic and progressive forces can find accommodation for a joint struggle for the restoration of democracy and true federalism in Nigeria.

Lush Arena

Penpushing further reports Osoba said shortly after National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) was formed in May 1994, he was arrested in his house and became the first of many others to follow, recalling that following the arrest, he put a call to British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) correspondent

The veteran journalist said his arrest was immediately relayed on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio World Service, as he was been driven to the Police Headquarters in Kalem Salem House, Lagos where he would be detained

‘Security agents were everywhere looking for other NADECO leaders to arrest. The man in charge on my interrogation was one Auta, a Deputy Commissioner of Police. I was left in very humiliating conditions in a large, rat-infested office, where about 20 policemen had their desks’, he recalled

Penpushing also reports that Osoba narrated that once the policemen closed for the day, the big rodents took over as his companion, adding that a combination of four desks served as his orthopaedic bed.

‘Once the policemen closed for the day, the big rodents took over. A combination of four desks served as my orthopaedic bed. I was lucky that one of the Commissioners of Police at Kalem Salem House, then Prince Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu later Akiolu 1, Oba of Lagos gave me the key to his office and asked me to sleep there every night’, he recalled

Penpushing reports that Osoba recalled that he was grateful for the offer, but was apprehensive that he could put the police boss in trouble if he was found to have offered him such gestures, adding that in response, Akiolu asked him not to worry

‘I was grateful for this but apprehensive that I could put Akiolu in trouble if he was found to be aiding and abetting an ‘enemy’ of the regime. He asked me not to worry. I also used his office phone to contact my colleagues in the struggle’, Osoba added

Penpushing further reports that the renowned journalist disclosed that he was later charged to court alongside Commodore Dan Suleiman for forming National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group, which Abacha regime tagged as illegal organisation

The reputable politician stated that others arrested include Chief Enahoro and Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), as well as former Governors Bola Ige and Balarabe Musa briefly detained

Penpushing also reports that Osoba said the leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Pa Abraham Adesanya, who was a renowned legal practitioner led the defence, adding that the court judge, Justice Tajudeen Odunowo granted them bail

The former Governor and presently national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), said Abacha led government appealed the bail order, adding that at the appeal, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Babatunde Mahmood Belgore upheld the decision to grant him(Osoba) and others bail, hence, they regain freedom from detention while the case continued

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