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The Nigerian military coup of December 31, 1983 was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military, led to the ouster of the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari, and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State.

Civil-military tensions were testy as evidenced by the Gaius of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd Division (Major General Muhammadu Buhari) to cut off fuel supplies and food into Chad, an action caused by border disputes between Nigeria and Chad and which was opposed by President Shehu Shagari. Against further orders by Shagari to avoid breaching Chadian Borders, Buhari’s units pursued Chadian intruders about 50 km into Chad. These unilateral actions in the words of military historian Nowa Omoigui “undermined civil-military relations and eventually contributed (among other reasons) to a successful coup on December 31, 1983”. Prior to December 31, 1983, the Director General of the National Security Organization, Umaru Shinkafi detected chatter associated with up to 10 coup plots but the NSO was unable to act because of the tenuous and vague nature of the intelligence gathered. 

Colonel Tunde Ogbeha was tasked by the coup plotters to negotiate the peaceful surrender of President Shagari’s Brigade of Guards army unit. Ogbeha was unable to reach Colonel Bello Kaliel, the Commander of the Brigade of Guards and engaged in a Lagos-to-Abuja-and-back seeking game which made Kaliel suspicious. Brigadier Ibrahim Bako was given the responsibility of arresting President Shagari after Ogbeha’s successful negotiation of a peaceful surrender. Unknown to Bako was the fact that no such surrender had been negotiated. Additionally details of the plot had not only been leaked to President Shagari but also Captain Anyogo and Lt Colonel Eboma of the Brigade of Guards mounted a defense of the presidential villa in anticipation of an attack. As expected Brigadier Bako arrived at the Presidential villa to arrest President Shagari but President Shagari’s guards were not pacified as expected. A firefight ensued leading to the killing of Brigadier Bako.


Major General Ibrahim Babangida (Director of Army Staff Duties and Plans)
Brigadier Ibrahim Bako (Brigade Commander)
Brigadier Sani Abacha (Commander, 9th Mechanized Brigade)
Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon (Military Secretary, Army)
Lt Colonel Aliyu Mohammed (Director of Military Intelligence)
Lt Colonel Halilu Akilu
Lt Colonel David Mark
Lt Colonel Tunde Ogbeha
Major Sambo Dasuki (Military Assistant to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Wushishi)
Major Abdulmumuni Aminu
Major Lawan Gwadabe
Major Mustapha Jokolo (Senior Instructor, Basawa Barracks – Zaria)
Major Abubakar Umar

My take: The plotters after the coup then looked for a credible officer to lead the country. They settled for Buhari. The same group led by IBB later removed Buhari himself. . . all is history now. So Dr. Junaid Mohammed should say another thing!!!! He should know that Buhari did not plan any coup.

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