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Nzekwe Gerald Uchenn @NzekweGerald
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HISTORY -- With Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna

THE STORY OF UMARU ABDULRAHMAN DIKKO ( 31 December 1936 – 1 July 2014) --

> How General Muhammadu Buhari Tried to Kidnap/Repatriate Umaru Dikko From London But Was Foiled In 1984.
Umaru Abdulrahman Dikko was born on 31 December 1936 to a Nigerian Muslim Parents in Wamba North Central region (Kaduna State)

Umaru Dikko was a Politician and who became an adviser to President Shehu Shagari, and also served as Minister of transportation from 1979–1983.
Although, Umaru Dikko started playing a role in the Nation's governance in 1967, when he was appointed as a commissioner in the then North Central State of Nigeria (now Kaduna State).
He was also secretary of a committee set up by General Hassan Katsina to unite the Northerners after a coup in 1966.

In 1979, Umaru Dikko was made Shagari's campaign manager for the successful presidential campaign of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
During the nation's Second Republic, he played prominent roles as transport minister and head of the presidential task force on rice.

A Military coup by General Muhammadu Buhari on 31 December 1983, overthrew the Government of Shagari.
Dikko then fled into exile in London as well as a few other ministers and officials of the National Party of Nigeria.

The new Military regime then accused Dikko of large-scale corruption while in office, particular of embezzling $2 mmmmmmmdollars from the nation's oil revenues.
.The new military government jailed several government ministers for corruption and embezzlement while in office.
However, the powerful former Transport Minister, Umaru Dikko, fled to London.
The Military claimed that Dikko used his position as Transport Minister to enrich himself in a series of racket scandals. It regarded Dikko as its most wanted fugitive from justice and wanted to bring him back to Nigeria to face trial.
It was said that Dikko embezzled $1billion.
The military regime suspended several parts of the constitution (primarily those relating to freedom of association etv), banned Party Politics, Declare all borders closed, and began to arrest and detain ministers and officials from Shagari’s government on charges of corruption.
The new Head of State Major-General Buhari’s first broadcast to the nation made it clear that the new regime would target corruption and corrupt former ministers:

“In pursuance of the primary objective of saving our great nation from total collapse, ...
I, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari of the Nigerian army have, after due consultation amongst the services of the armed forces, been formally invested with the authority of the Head of the Federal Military Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal ...
Republic of Nigeria. It is with humility and a deep sense of responsibility that I accept this challenge and call to national duty. While corruption and indiscipline have been associated with our state of under-development, these two evils in our body politic have ...
attained unprecedented height in the past few years. The corrupt, inept and insensitive leadership in the last four years has been the source of immorality and impropriety in our society. Since what happens in any society is largely a reflection of the leadership of that society,
we deplore corruption in all its facets. This government will not tolerate kick-backs, inflation of contracts and over-invoicing of imports etc. Nor will it condone forgery, fraud, embezzlement, misuse and abuse of office and illegal dealings in foreign exchange and smuggling. Hi
Arson has been used to cover up fraudulent acts in public institutions. I am referring to the fire incidents that gutted the P&T buildings in Lagos, the Anambra State Broadcasting Corporation, the Republic Building at Marina, the Federal Ministry of Education,..
the Federal Capital Development Authority Accounts at Abuja and the NET Building. Most of these fire incidents occurred at a time when Nigerians were being apprehensive of the frequency of fraud scandals and the government incapacity to deal with them.
Corruption has become so pervasive and intractable that a whole ministry has been created to stem it.”

Buhari quietly warned that his regime would ensure that “Corrupt officials and their agents would be brought to book”.
That broadcast by General Muhammadu Buhari, placed Umaru Dikko squarely in the cross-hairs of the new regime.
Umaru Dikko knew he was a target.
Armed soldiers went looking for him at his official quarters in Ikoyi, Lagos And ransacked his home.
Umaru Dikko then claimed his family, son and elderly family were also harassed by the military authorities.

With the assistance of friends and a fistful of raw cash, Umaru Dikko drove to the Nigeria Seme border with the Republic Of Benin.
Bribing his way through the border he traveled to Togo’s capital Lome, and from there boarded a KLM flight to London Via Amsterdam.

Contrary to popular belief, Dikko denies fleeing in disguise as a woman, and claims he was dressed in traditional male northern attire.
Umaru Dikko in Exile :

In London Umaru Dikko joined a host of other distinguished Nigerian fugitives from justice. They included former ministers in Shagari’s government such as Adisa Akinloye (national chairman of the NPN),
Joseph Wayas (former Senate President) ...
and Richard Akinjide (former Attorney-General and Justice Minister).
London became a Shangri-La for former government ministers as the new military government continued to detain, try and jail deposed politicians for massive corruption.
Dikko became an outspoken critic of the new military regime and launched continual verbal attacks at it.

He appeared on British TV, and granted interviews which condemned the Buhari regime.
Dikko was making a bad situation worse.

He became number on Nigeria’s most wanted list
The Israeli Connection ;

During the “Cold War” between the U.S.and USSR, Israel was seeking to infiltrate, and gain influence in Africa. Its initial links with Africa were disturbing. Israel’s relationship with the Apartheid regime in South Africais well known ...
and rankles with many black South Africans till this day. Israel sold weapons to and cooperated with the South African government at a time when it was an international pariah. Worryingly, Israel’s intelligence services also shared intelligence and interrogation techniques ...
with South Africa’s dreaded Orwellian sounding security service named “BOSS” (South African Bureau of State Security). Such actions did not win Israel friends among black or Arab African nations.
Nigeria’s relationship with Israel was complex.
At the instigation of the Organisation of African Unity,Nigeria terminated diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973.
Although Nigeria officially did not have diplomatic relations with Israel the 2 countries continued to conduct business deals with each other out of public sight.
Nigeria supplied more than 50% of Israel’s crude oil in exchange for military hardware. From Israel’s perspective the continuation of the oil flow from a country with a high Muslim population was strategically important.
The continuation of that flow was cast into doubt on January 1, 1984 when news of the coup reached Israel, and Israel became aware that Nigeria’s new military regime would be led by another Muslim: Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
Israel unsuccessfully tried to make contact with the new military regime.
In his book on Mossad entitled “Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad”, Gordon Thomas claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was concerned that the new regime might interrupt ....
Israel’s oil supply from Nigeria.
According to Thomas, Israel saw an opening to gain favour with the new regime when Nigeria began to arrest leading politicians from the former government for corruption.
With Dikko still at large and the regime unaware of his whereabouts, Israel offered to track Dikko down using its formidable intelligence agency Mossad. Although oil was doubtless a factor, it seems illogical that Israel would independently offer up the services of its ...
intelligence agency solely to maintain the supply of oil it was already receiving. A more plausible scenario is that the new Nigerian regime solicited Mossad’s intervention through its network of contacts among the Israeli security establishment.
Several senior officers in the Nigerian army had long standing associations with Israeli businessmen and security agents. For example former Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo had established an agricultural farm with the assistance of Israeli experts ...
including a contractor named Elisha Cohen (the author does not suggest or believe that Obasanjo has any involvement in the Dikko affair). Cohen and his company Solel Boneh had operated in Nigeria for decades, doing construction work.
A subsequent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that Cohen was instrumental in securing Israeli cooperation.
Mossad’s Director Nahum Admoni traveled to Nigeria’s then capital Lagos On a Canadian passport to meet with the new Head of State Buhari.
Much to the chagrin of its friends and host countries, Mossad agents were fond of traveling on forged diplomatic passports of friendly countries. Admoni made Buhari an offer he could not refuse. He offered to find Dikko and repatriate him to Nigeriato face justice.
It was at this meeting that the two countries hashed the plot to find Umaru Dikko and deliver him back to Nigeria t
o face what would be a sensational show trial and cause celebre for the new regime’s war on corruption. However Buhari wanted more.
He wanted not just physical custody of Dikko, but the location of the offshore accounts where Dikko had deposited loot he embezzled from Nigeria, an undertaking by Israel to cooperate with Nigeria’s National Security Organisation (NSO),..
and for Israel to take no credit when Dikko is captured.
Admoni agreed and put his formidable resources within Mossad to work. If the plan succeeded it would be a pivotal moment for Nigeria’s battle against corruption, and would symbolise a break with corrupt politicians
Intelligence and Preparation: Stalking Dikko :

The same modus operandi used in the capture of Eichmann would be used in the planned capture of Dikko. It would take months of intelligence gathering, surveillance and a great deal of bravado to carry out the operation.
All these were Mossad specialties.
Mossad put its extensive network of Sayanim to work.The Sayanim are non-Israeli Jews living outside Israel who assist Mossad.
To work for Mossad,Sayanim must be 100% Jewish.Sayanim assist Mossad with covert operations and to circumvent red tape.
For example Sayanim may help Mossad rent a car or apartment without having to fulfill the usual documentary and qualification procedures (thereby leaving no paper trail), or could offer medical treatment for a bullet wound without reporting it to the police.
The Sayanim provide Mossad with a constantly available and loyal network of assistance not on its official payroll. Dikko’s personal preferences and physical characteristics were to be exploited in order to find him.
Sayanim across Europe were put on alert and memorised Umaru Dikko’s image and physical description.
Doctors were told to look out in case Dikko came in for plastic surgery to change his appearance.
Lookouts were posted at his favourite hotels, and clerks at car rental companies
and airlines were on the lookout in case he rented a car or bought a plane ticket. Tailors were given his measurements and shoemakers were given his shoe size and details of his customised shoes.
Publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell was tapped and asked to explore his high level contacts for news of Dikko’s whereabouts (Gordon Thomas – “Gideon’s Spies”). Dikko was up against a formidable intelligence machinery.
Intelligence services and undercover agents (with the help of several Israelis who were members of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad) tracked Dikko to a house in west London. After placing the house under surveillance, the agents decided to strike on July 5, 1984.
Moments after Dikko emerged from the house, two men burst out from a van parked outside the house. They grabbed the politician and bundled him into the back of a waiting van.
The team inside the van included a doctor who injected Umaru Dikko to make him unconscious.
Umaru Dikko’s ‘abductors’locked him in a large crate labelled “Diplomatic Baggage” and addressed to the Nigerian Ministry of External Affairs in Lagos – then capital of the country.
They claimed diplomatic immunity for the crate’s contents, and drove him to Stansted airport to place him on a waiting Nigerian cargo plane.
The plot was foiled by a young British customs officer, Charles David Morrow, who later told the BBC World Service Witness programme what happened.
Israeli anesthetist:

An Israeli alleged former Mossad agent, Alexander Barak, was recruited to lead the kidnap team. It included a Nigerian intelligence officer, Maj M. Yusufu and Israeli nationals Felix Abitbol and Dr Lev-Arie Shapiro, who was to inject Dikko with anesthetic.
Umaru Dikko kept denying embezzling $1bn.
The kidnappers switched vehicles in a car park by London Zoo and headed towards Stansted airport where a Nigerian Airways plane was waiting. They injected Umaru Dikko and laid him, unconscious, in a crate.
The Israeli anesthetist climbed into the crate as well, carrying medical equipment to make sur
Umaru Dikko didn't die en route. Barak and Abitbol got into a second crate. Both boxes were then sealed.
At the cargo terminal of Stansted Airport, 40 miles (64km) north of London, a Nigerian diplomat was anxiously waiting for the crates to arrive. Also on duty that day was a young customs officer, Charles David Morrow.
Unknown to the kidnappers, Umaru Dikko’s secretary had glanced out of her window just in time to see her boss being bundled into the van outside his house, and she dialed 999 (free toll distressed code).
The kidnap was initially thought to be the work of criminals and was referred to Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad. The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was also informed.
The British government ordered customs officials at airports, ports and border crossings to be vigilant when inspecting Nigeria-bound vessels. One customs officer at Stansted airport was especially vigilant.
Although the Nigerian cargo plane was minutes from taking off with Dikko on board, he ordered the crate to be opened. Nigerian intelligence officials and diplomatic staff protested that the crate could not be opened as it was protected by diplomatic immunity.
Major Muhammed Yusufu protested furiously that the crates were protected by diplomatic immunity and could not be searched. His vehement protests were dismissed and the customs officers opened the crates with a crowbar. What they found inside was shocking.”
The customs officer called anti-terrorist police. They cordoned off the area and evacuated airport staff. Customs then opened the crate with armed police watching. Inside the crate, they found Dikko unconscious, next to the doctor who had injected him.
The doctor had accompanied Dikko in the box to top up his anesthetics and ensure he did not die during transit.

Armed police surrounded the Nigerian cargo plane on the runway, arrested its crew and refused to allow the plane to take off.
They also arrested the Nigerian officials and Israelis who drove the crate to Stansted and several members of Nigeria’s High Commission in London.
The Nigerian and Israeli governments always denied any involvement in the affair. Foreign intelligence involvement became apparent only when the sophistication and daring of the Dikko kidnap was revealed.
The kidnap caused one of the worst-ever diplomatic crises between Britain and Nigeria. The Nigerian High Commissioner was declared persona non grata in London and the head of Nigeria Airways narrowly escaped being arrested by British police.
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Britain became severe and was suspended for two years. The controversy also weakened Nigeria’s war on corruption, as Britain rejected a subsequent formal request from Nigeria to extradite Dikko and other Nigerian politicians in the UK ...
who were wanted in Nigeria on charges of corruption.

Four men were convicted for kidnapping Dikko (three Israelis and a Nigerian) in a trial at the Old Bailey. The three were slammed with jail terms. All were released and returned to their countries after serving their sentences
Umaru Dikko died in London in 2014, aged 78.
And was laid to rest in Zaria, Kaduna State

May his Soul Continue to Rest in Peace, Amjn
After regaining consciousness in hospital, umaru Dikko remained in Britain for over a decade.

The episode provoked a diplomatic crisis and a flood of news media attention to what The New York Times, in a front-page article, called a “Nigerian Drama.”
Sources : NGU Library Collection, Alex Lastnov, Wikipedia, Nairaland, Pulse News, ThisDay Newspapers

#Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna (NGU)
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