Saturday, 17 June 2017

#The Nation Remembers # Gone but not Forgotten.

"Timothy, how did you get in here and what the devil do you think you are doing?" Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, commanding officer of the 1st Brigade Nigerian Army, Kaduna, asked bewilderedly as he saw Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu and five other soldiers pointing their submachine guns at him and his startled pregnant wife, Latifah.
They had gained access to his bedroom in his house at 1, Kashim Ibrahim Road, Kaduna at approximately 2:05am on that day, January 15, 1966, having passed through with little resistance from his guards commanded by Lance Corporal Lawrence Akuma and three sappers of the Nigerian Army Engineers.
Ademulegun was a "first class soldier" and the second most senior officer after Aguiyi-Ironsi. His army number was N3. As an officer of that magnitude, he was the most protected personality in the whole of Northern Nigeria. Even more protected than the Premier and Governor of the Northern Region. His guards, drawn from the 3rd infantry battalion, guarded not only the inside and outside of his compound but his main house too. But the guards had been compromised and had led Onwuatuegwu straight into the Brigadier's bedroom where he was just in his singlet and knicker.
"Get dressed and come with us sir. Those are my instructions; to bring you to the headquarters," Onwuatuegwu said to the Brigadier. It sounded like nonsense to him. As the commander of that headquarters since 1964, he was the only one who could give such an order. But all the while, his wife Latifah, 8 months pregnant, planted herself fearlessly between her husband and the pointed guns.
In the top bedside drawer was a service pistol. As a Brigadier, Ademulegun knew a pistol was no contest for 6 soldiers armed with submachine guns. But he would rather fight and die gallantly than degrade the honour of his office by surrendering to subordinates.
As he made a quick dash for the drawer, Onwuatuegwu opened fire on the Brigadier, his wife and the unborn child. Ademulegun's children, Kole (13 years) and Solape (6 years) were in the next room. They heard all the clash and were the first to see their lifeless parents surrounded by a pool of blood.
Onwuatuegwu and his mutineers who had turned Ademulegun's children to early orphans, then strolled out unchallenged by the guards to the home of Colonel Ralph Shodeinde, Deputy Commandant of Nigerian Defence Academy whom Ademulegun usually hand over the Brigade to when he was not around. He was also killed in cold blood and his wife shot in the hands and legs.
Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun was born, October 23, 1923 in Ondo town, present day Ondo State. The son of Mr and Mrs Michael Ademulegun. He had his early education in Owo also in Ondo State and joined the Nigerian Army as a Private in 1942. He was the third Nigerian commissioned into the Army after Bassey and Aguiyi-Ironsi in 1949. Though his burial place is unknown, there is a cenotaph erected for him in Ondo.

By Akinsulie Israel.

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