So many assassinations happened in Lagos when it was the capital of Nigeria. Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria and the economic hub of West Africa. Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967 and became the federal capital of Nigeria on April 11, 1968. It remained the capital until 1991 when the government seat was moved to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
During these times, a lot of murders and assassinations took place on the streets of Lagos and one of it involved the murder of General Murtala Mohammed who is presently the face of the 20 naira polymer note of the Nigerian Currency.
This is the story of an incredible military man who was notably known for his simple lifestyle which many believed led to his death as he was without escort at the point of his assassination. He was also known to keep on restructuring.
On 13th February 1976, General Ramat Murtala Muhammed was assassinated on his way to work by some military men who were loyalist to the then Head of the Nigerian Army Physical Training Corps, Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka.
General Murtala Muhammed was born on 8th November 1938 in kano, He joined the Nigerian Army in 1958 and went to Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in England where he was trained as an officer cadet and also was the federal Minister Commissioner for Communications.
He took over power as Military head of state on 29th July, 1975. He also created seven states 10 days before his assassination.
On 13th February 1976, he set off for work taking his usual route on George Street few minutes past 8am, in his Mercedes Benz car near the Federal Secretariat at Ikoyi in Lagos. Not long after, he was attacked by a group of soldiers who were members of a coup led by Lt. Col Dimka and was there assassinated.
Ramat Murtala was killed at age 37 alongside his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa in his Black Mercedes Benz.
Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka was executed on 15th May 1976 at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison in Lagos for Treason.
He was succeeded by the chief of staff, Supreme HQ Olusegun Obasanjo who completed his plan of an orderly transfer to civilian rule by handing over power to Shehu Shagari on October 1st 1979.
Today, it is a great honour to have Muhammed’s portrait adorn the 20 naira note and to have The Murtala Muhammed International Airport named after him.
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