Biography of Oladipo Diya


NAME: Oladipo Diya

DATE OF BIRTH: 3 April 1944

PLACE OF BIRTH: Odogbolu, Ogun State

EDUCATION: 


He was educated at the Methodist Primary School, Lagos, the Odogbolu Grammar School, and then at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.

He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College,

Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. While serving in the military, Diya studied Law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of
Nigeria


CAREER AND PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: 


Oladipo Diya became Commander 31, Airborne Brigade. He was appointed Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.

He became General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigeria Army in 1985.

General Oladipo Diya was Commandant, National War college (1991–1993) an then was appointed as Chief of Defence Staff. 

He was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.


Death Sentence


On 3 March 1999, Major General Oladipo Diya, who had been sentenced to death, but whose sentence was later commuted to a 25-year jail term, and his colleagues were reportedly released after General Abdulsalam Abubakar granted them amnesty (Post Express Wired 30 Mar. 1999).

 A 9 March 1999 P.M. News report corroborated the release adding that Major General Diya, and his colleagues including Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Major Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa, Col. EI. Jando, Col. Yakubu Bako, Lt. Col. O.O. Akinyode (deceased), Major A.A. Fadipe, Major B.M. Mohammed and Lance Corporal Galadima Tanko, were not only released but henceforth dismissed from the service, stripped of their ranks, and reportedly prohibited from using their military titles.

General Oladipa Diya was the deputy president of Nigeria from November 1993 to December 1997 when he was arrested by the Abacha government and charged with treason (The News 21 Sept. 1998). 

The statement arresting Major General Oladipo Diya, and the 11 others for allegedly planning to overthrow the government of the President Sani Abacha was issued by Major-General Abdulsalam Abubakar, now president, but then Chief of Defence Staff (Post Express Wired 23 Dec. 1997).

On 21 December 1997 the government arrested top army officials including the Deputy Head of State, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya, Major General Tunji Olanrewaju, Major General Abdulkarim Adisa, and eight others for allegedly plotting to  "violently" overthrow the government of General Sani Abacha (AC 23 Jan. 1998, 1-2; ibid., 9 Jan. 1998, 8; AFP 14 Feb. 1998; NA Feb. 1998; WA 12 - 18 Jan. 1998).

Two weeks before his arrest, Diya had allegedly narrowly missed becoming the victim of a bomb explosion at Abuja Airport when he was on his way to represent President Abacha at the funeral of the mother of Major-General Lawrence Onoja in Benue state (Post Express Wired 23 Dec. 1997).  


Diya's personal guards had also been gradually reduced and replaced by Special Bodyguards (SB), described as members of  a "carefully selected"  private army of 3,000 men trained in Libya and North Korea. The SB is reputed for its "quiet efficiency and brutality;"  they are personally loyal to the president and take "orders from the presidential security chief, Maj. Hamza al-Mustapha" (AC 23 Jan. 1998, 1).

The trial drew condemnation from various human rights groups, and Nigeria's renowned human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana, who claimed that the fairness of  the trial had already been prejudiced by the showing of the video clips (IPS 19 Feb. 1998). 

Both Femi Falana and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) called for an open-court trial for the accused suspects. Throughout  the trial, Gen. Oladipo Diya maintained that he had been framed (IPS 19 Feb. 1998; WA 16 - 22 Feb. 1998, 214).

At the end of  the two-month trial, the military tribunal gave the death sentence to six including Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju and Maj. Gen. Adulkareem Adisa, and  a civilian (The Washington Post 29 Apr. 1998, AC 1 May 1998, 3). 

Five of the 20 other accused reportedly received prison sentences ranging from 2 to 14 years while 15 others were set free (The Washington Post 29 Apr. 1998).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. 

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

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