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Sani Abacha Biography, Death and Children

General Sani Abacha

Sani Abacha was a Nigerian Army general and politician who served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998. A Kanuri from Borno, Abacha was born on 20 September 1943 and brought up in Kano, Nigeria. He died on 8 June 1998.

He attended the Nigerian Military Training College and Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England before being commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1963.

Abacha’s military career is distinguished by a string of successful coups. He is by some records the most successful coup plotter in the history of Nigeria’s military. Abacha, then a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion in Kaduna, took part in the July 1966 Nigerian counter-coup from the conceptual stage. He may have been a participant in the Lagos or Abeokuta phases of the coup the previous January as well.

He was also a prominent figure in the 1983 Nigerian coup d’état which brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power in 1983, and the August 1985 coup which removed Buhari from power. When General Ibrahim Babangida was named President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1985, Abacha was named Chief of Army Staff. He was appointed Minister of Defence in 1990.

General Sani Abacha

General Sani Abacha

In 1990, Abacha became the first Nigerian soldier to attain the rank of a full General without skipping a single rank.

On 17 November 1993, Abacha overthrew the short-lived transitional government of Chief Ernest Shonekan. In September 1994, he issued a decree that placed his government above the jurisdiction of the courts, effectively giving him absolute power. Another decree gave him the right to detain anyone for up to three months without trial.

Sani Abacha Death

Abacha died in June 1998 while at the presidential villa in Abuja. He was buried on the same day, according to Muslim tradition, without an autopsy. This fueled speculation that he may have been executed extrajudicially by way of being poisoned by political rivals via prostitutes. The government identified the cause of death as a sudden heart attack. It is reported that he was in the company of two Indian prostitutes imported from Dubai. It is thought that the prostitutes laced his drink with a poisonous substance, making Abacha feel unwell around 4:30am. He retired to his bed and was dead by 6:15am.

Sani Abacha Children

  • Mohammed Abacha – Son
  • Sadiq Abacha – Son
  • Zainab Abacha – Daughter
  • Ibrahim Abacha – Son
  • Rakiya Abacha – Daughter
  • Abba Abacha – Son
  • Abdullahi Abacha – Child
  • Mahmud Sani Abacha – Son
  • Fatima Gumsu Sani Abacha – Daughter
  • Al Mustapha Abacha – Daughter

General Sani Abacha – Video


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