Sani Abacha GCFR, September 20, 1943, was a Nigerian military officer and politician, who held control as the military head of state from 1993 until his passing in 1998, marking the final successful coup d’état in Nigerian military history.
|Date of Birth:
|September 20, 1943
Sani Abacha Early Life and Education
Sani Abacha’s upbringing took place in Kano, where he was born by his parents who were discipline.
He pursued his education at the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna and later received his commission in 1963 following his training at the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England.
Sani Abacha Career
Sani Abacha played key roles in various military coups throughout his career, including the 1966 Nigerian counter-coup. He held positions such as platoon and battalion commander during the Nigerian Civil War and later became the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in 1975.
In 1983, he was involved in the coup that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power, and in 1985, he participated in the coup that removed Buhari and brought General Ibrahim Babangida to power. Abacha served as Chief of Army Staff and later as Minister of Defence in 1990.
In 1993, Abacha orchestrated the coup that ousted the Interim National Government of Ernest Shonekan and portrayed it as a stabilizing act.
He ruled as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief from 1993 to 1998, using decrees to consolidate power and suppress dissent. Abacha’s regime was criticized for human rights abuses, including the execution of Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Economically, his administration saw an increase in foreign exchange reserves and a reduction in external debt. Abacha also invested in urban road construction and reduced inflation, all while facing challenges in the petroleum-dependent economy.
Sani Abacha’s Death
On June 8, 1998, Abacha passed away at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja. He was laid to rest on the same day following Muslim tradition, and no autopsy was conducted, leading to speculation about the possibility of assassination.
The government officially cited a sudden heart attack as the cause of death, but there were suspicions, including among foreign diplomats and U.S. Intelligence analysts, that he might have been poisoned. Abacha’s chief security officer, Hamza al-Mustapha, believed he was poisoned by Israeli operatives in the presence of Yasser Arafat.
At the time of his demise, Abacha was in the process of transitioning power to a civilian government, scheduled for October 1998 as part of reforms implemented in October 1995.
Following Abacha’s death, General Abdulsalami Abubakar assumed the role of head of state, marking the start of the Fourth Nigerian Republic.
Sani Abacha Wife and Children
Sani Abacha was wed to Maryam Abacha and had seven sons and three daughters. Posthumously, he became a grandfather, with a total of thirty-three grandchildren as of 2018.
Sani Abacha Net Worth
Sani Abacha had an estimated net worth of around $5 billion. He was a former head of state of Nigeria.