The personal physician to Nigeria’s former dictator Sani Abacha, Professor Sadiq Suleiman, has exhumed details surrounding the death of the powerful tyrant.
If we recall, the Nigeria’s military ruler, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in 1998.
However, According to Naij, Professor Wali says Abacha’s health was okay just before his death.
”Abacha was generally healthy though he had some health issues, he was treated, he’s responded [to that treatment] very well. He didn’t have any heart-related diseases at that time”, Wali said.
Narrating precisely from June 7, 1998 – day Abacha died – Professor Wali said, ”around 6 am I had a phone call from his security officers, and they said, “please come, come to the villa, come urgently!” Before I even could get ready, they came and picked me. I had no idea what it all was about”.
”I arrived then I saw chief security there and he said “doctor come in, please, come in!” We all rushed and I just saw the president. There was another doctor who came earlier, resuscitating him. Abacha was in the sitting room. He was on the couch. He was in his normal work clothes. I didn’t panic. I’ve seen a lot of serious problems before in my practice, but to affect him was very tough, definitely. I joined and we did as much as we could to resuscitate him. But I realised that he was dead because he was firming. We just continued resuscitation and even injected some things, but it didn’t work”.
”I said, sorry – there’s nothing we can do. Immediately the security officer took over, and he invited all the service chiefs to come to Abuja, by then most of them were based in Lagos”.
The Professor, who was strong-minded in conducting an autopsy, was however declined by his family, as they preferred a quick burial which is in line with the Islamic tradition.
”I still try to take some samples of blood and urine and hair and things like that, just thinking for the future chemical tests,” Professor Wali said.
”It’s very difficult to say [whether he died of natural causes]. What I can see. The blood test we did, has shown some raised cardiac enzymes [proteins that are released into the blood by dying heart muscles]. That’s why we thought maybe it was cardiac attack”.
Responding to allegations that Abacha died after he had been poisoned, or spent a night entertaining young ladies, Professor Wali said, ”when I entered [Abacha’s premises], there were no ladies. It might be true but I did not see them. Concerning the poison, as I said no post-mortem has been done, so I couldn’t assure whether he was poisoned or it was a heart attack”.