Paul Osuyi, Asaba
If you ask Generals Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, they may acceptable acquaint you that they do not bethink what his face looks like. No acknowledgment to the abundant abysm that now exists amid them, occasioned by misfortune, abjection and differences in amusing and bread-and-butter statuses. But armed with facts and figures, Capt. Amos Iyari Monye (retd.) has not alone that he already served beneath them as a binding and trusted army officer.
Perhaps, he would accept become one of the accompaniment aggressive administrators, post-the Nigerian-civil war. Or, alike arch of state, who knows. But that assumption and its celebrity now belongs to the accomplished as cabal of affairs accumulated to abbreviate whatever fate that afterlife had in abundance for him aback he was unceremoniously absolved from the army for what he claims and still insists was no accountability of his.
Today, a pauper, he is poorer for the declared act of abuse as he goes about allurement for aliment and money to accumulate anatomy and body together. He survives on alms and charity. He lives in base abjection afterwards a abode of his own. He afterwards Iost his wife and four of his accouchement to abortive deaths. Owing to the all-knowing abjection and hardship, he abjure that he could not accommodate acceptable medical absorption to them aback they fell sick. Pathetic!
He fought on the ancillary of the Nigerian army during the 1967 – 1970 Nigerian noncombatant war. He took the bullets, risked his activity and active pleasures for the accord of the country. Incidentally, the three above army admiral beneath whom he served, afterwards became aggressive active of accompaniment at assorted times, with Obasanjo and Buhari, transforming into noncombatant presidents at the acknowledgment of democracy. But for his hasty dismal, Monye acerb believes that his affiliation and accord with these military-politico demigods would accept impacted absolutely both on his career and life. He was absolved from the Army as a Captain, afterwards benefits. His offence, they claimed, was accepting the audacity to accuse that monies meant for them as soldiers were allegedly embezzled by their above officer. He insists and acerb denies that he was a affair to the declared address letter.
Tucked abroad in his affiliated citizenry of Owa-Alero in Ika North East Local Government Breadth of Delta State, the abject Army Captain who struggled to allege on his adventures in the army, the noncombatant war and accord with the leash of Gowon, Obasanjo and Buhari, afterwards capped the chat with a save-my-soul message.
Sojourn in the Nigerian Army
Born in 1944, Capt. Monye (NA/1239) enlisted into the army in 1963 afterwards elementary and accessory education, and a bit of teaching experience. He was beatific to the Nigeria Army Depot for application training. While there, he underwent a six-month application course. He anesthetized out in April 1964 and was acquaint to 2nd Battalion, Abeokuta. But in August of the aforementioned year the accomplished army was confused to Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos.
In 1964, anon afterwards the accepted election, 38 soldiers and one administrator from 2nd Battalion, Ikeja, took them to Benin City, Agbor and Asaba appropriately for football matches. As a appalling football amateur in the military, he was amid those declared to comedy in Benin, Agbor and Asaba. Afterwards the bout in Benin, they were confused to Agbor for the abutting match. There, he pleaded with his above administrator to be accustomed to appointment his home, which is a stone-throw from the breadth so he could see his parents but his address was angry down. He managed to accelerate a bulletin beyond to his ancestor to appear to the primary academy breadth the football bout was demography abode at Agbor to see him. The man, who was there to watch him play, declared him abreast afterwards the bout to altercate and adjure for him. Monye bedeviled the befalling to acquaint him to the soldier in accusation of aegis in the barrack, Ahmadu Finger who hailed from Maiduguri.
Narrow escape from afterlife during the countercoup
On January 15, 1966, the accomplishment led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu took place. The aforementioned year on July 28, there was a countercoup led by the Hausa, spearheaded by Lt. Col. Murtala Mohammed, afresh Inspector of Army Signals, Lagos. There at the barrack, the Hausa soldiers began to shoot and annihilate their Igbo counterparts.
“Because abounding of them admired me as an Igbo man, I was attempt at in my duke and taken to the guardroom. There were abounding of us in the guardroom, the Igbos, Yoruba and soldiers from added tribes were bent and brutalized,” he recalled. On the 10th day of their incarceration while cat-and-mouse to be executed, Ahmadu Finger took it aloft himself and assertive added soldiers that Monye was not an Igbo but a Mid-Westerner. Anon afterward, Abettor Malami Mahe Nasarawa (of the 2nd Battalion, Lagos) came to the guardroom and declared out names of those to be appear and Monye was amid them. Afterwards their release, Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon visited the 10 of them and admonished them not to run abroad but breach and appointment with added soldiers.
“The abutting day, nine out of the ten of us that were appear ran away. They could not assurance them due to the barbaric analysis meted to us. But I absitively to breach aback because of my adulation and alacrity to appointment for my fatherland,” he narrated. Some months later, he and some added soldiers were taken to Kaduna but he was not adequate actuality alone in the bosom of bodies who capital him dead.
So, he pleaded with his afresh commander, backward Capt. Isa Bukar, of the Federal Brigade of Guards, who was afterwards accomplished during Dimka’s coup, to accord him an official announcement to Benin but he was denied with a ascetic admonishing never to accomplish such address afresh or risked actuality advised as an Igbo man.
They were still in Kaduna aback Gen. Yakubu Gowon created 12 states to alter the four regions in 1967 by a aggressive decree. Within the aforementioned period, Ojukwu declared the Republic of Biafra. Along the line, Monye became ailing and was taken to the Aggressive Hospital breadth Army and Air force doctors abounding to him but he never got better. He was afresh taken to one Dr. Oshodi who diagnosed his action to be cerebral and recommended in a letter to the administrator that he should be acquaint to a added acceptable place. The administrator declared to acclaim him for his adventuresomeness and assured him that he would address to the almanac administrator at Apapa, Lagos to re-post him clearly to Benin.
While cat-and-mouse for his posting, it was appear that his army would be confused to the boundary. He accepted to be amid the ‘Rear Affair Men’ (aged and ailing soldiers who commonly bouncer the billet aback the soldiers were out for operation) but aback the account of Rear Affair Men came out, his name did not accomplish it.
He approached Muhammadu Buhari who was the aide then, and told him that he was ailing and was apprehension his letter of posting. But he told him that it was too late. So, he had no best than to move with the army to the abuttals amid North and South and the army was acclimatized in Adikpo apple amid in the abreast Benue State.
Working beneath Buhari
On the 6th of July 1967, the war started. On the aboriginal day, Monye had Buhari as his aggregation commander. Afterwards the liberation of Abakaliki in November 1968, Buhari recommended him for an assay that would authorize him for a abbreviate account advance at the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) as an administrator not alone because of his GCE accomplishment but additionally because of accepting acquired his trust.
When Gen. Gowon wrote a letter advertence that soldiers should be accustomed two weeks breach to go home and see their families and appear aback to the warfront, army authorities were afraid to admission the aforementioned for Monye for abhorrence that he may desert. But he gave Buhari his chat that he would acknowledgment at the end of the two weeks breach and he accomplished his promise. He afterwards acquaint him to 1 Division, Enugu, from breadth he was taken to the bounded address at Abakaliki. There he took the aboriginal assay and passed. He was afresh taken to Enugu for the additional exam.
Military layover with Obasanjo
After casual the assay at Enugu, he was taken to Lagos for the final exam, which was organized by Olusegun Obasanjo. He additionally passed. With this result, he was accepted into the NDA in 1968 to activate the Officers’ Course. He anesthetized out in August 1969 and was commissioned as Additional Lieutenant. Thereafter, he was acquaint to 3 Marine Commando in Port Harcourt breadth he met Olusegun Obasanjo as his Accepted Administrator Commanding (GOC). Afresh Obasanjo was a Colonel.
Second Abettor Monye was afterwards acquaint to the 12th Brigade at Azummiri in present Abia State, which was beneath the accusation of Major Isamade. Afterwards few months at the 12th Brigade, he was fabricated a Army Commander. He was asked to command a army of about 1,200 soldiers because it was war aeon and the cardinal of army soldiers was actual aerial whereas, there were alone 25 acreage admiral accessible with no ability of war as none of them abounding the NDA. “So, aggregate was on me and in that vein, I was ordered to beat Ogbor hills in Aba to Umuahia, which was 35 afar ambit with those officers,” he declared with nostalgia.
After seven canicule of battle, they got to his above Army at Umuahia from breadth he larboard for the NDA. Trailers were beatific to aces him and his soldiers and they were confused to Ochokocho abreast Port-Harcourt. Aback he got there, Obasanjo was still the GOC. He gave him addition appointment to beat all the villages from Ochokocho to Owerri Nta Bridge. He fought through those distances and got to Owerri Nta Bridge. Monye and his army beyond the arch at Owerri Nta and entered Aba and connected to action until he baffled all the villages in that breadth up to Ogugu village, which was amid amid Owerri and Umuahia.
On the 10th of January 1970, as he was angry to beat Orlu Amakire, he was attempt beneath his arm and was taken to the hospital. Few canicule later, the war ended. Afterwards that day, he and his army were confused to Aba and camped at Girls’ College, Ovom 1, amid Azummiri and Aba. As the Administrator of the army there, Obasanjo visited him alert to audit the army and additionally commended him for appointment able-bodied done.
Later, he was acquaint to addition army at Aba. In May 1973, his army was confused to Taku, a apple afterwards Kastina river. He was there for few months and was afterwards acquaint to Makurdi to be the Deputy Assistant Aide Quarter Master Accepted (DAAQMG) of the 31 Brigade. In October 3, 1973, he was answer to the rank of Captain at Makurdi.
Alleged biased dismissal
He said: “there was an accusation of abstraction of funds meant for the soldiers collapsed adjoin the Brigade Major of the Battalion, Captain Omoniyi, who was our superior. It was via a accounting address by some soldiers claiming that he embezzled the money accustomed to him to allotment to the soldiers.
“A console which comprised Backward Capt. Mamman Vatsa, Backward Capt. Dada and Backward Capt. Ojokojo was set up to investigate the allegation. Afterwards able analysis and for baffling reasons, Capt. Omoniyi was absolved in the address of the console which claimed that no money was accustomed to him.”
Monye declared that three admiral from the South-South including himself from Delta Accompaniment and his two added colleagues, backward Major Mayi (Bayelsa State) and Additional abettor Akpan (Cross River State), who had annihilation to do with the said abstraction were absolved from the Army unceremoniously in 1975. According to him, they were sacked on the allegation that they may accept instigated the soldiers to address their boss, Captain Omoniyi, for embezzling the money meant to allotment to the soldiers.
“The money in catechism was declared to be aggregate to us who were admiral beneath Captain Omoniyi and the soldiers. Surprisingly, Omoniyi who was accused of embezzling the money was absolved and we who were declared to be accustomed the money were dismissed. This was one of the greatest injustices I accept accustomed in my activity from a country I risked my activity for. We had no asperse to aback us up on our appeal. We had no added best but acknowledgment to our assorted homes afterwards compensations or abutment of any kind,” he lamented.
Life afterwards dismissal
Battered by war expeditions, administrative brutality, abuse and denial, Capt. Monye is abject and depressed. He begs to eat. He said Gen. Buhari was the abutting to him of all the aggressive top-shots that he served during his sojourn. Aback he was the Arch of State, 1983 -1985, Monye said he fabricated efforts to see his above bang-up but afore he could accession funds for the visit, Accepted Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida accomplishment beatific him out of office.
Not deterred, however, he visited him in Kaduna breadth they discussed at breadth in his active room. During that visit, according to him, Buhari who knew his labour, efforts and the accuracy about his biased dismissal, apprenticed him to accumulate the advice approach accessible by visiting him consistently as he would adulation to appointment with him in future. Since afresh however, he had not been able to appointment him for abridgement of funds and connection.
Ordeals at home
The man who got affiliated October 1, 1971 had six accouchement absolute three macho and three female. But he absent all his three sons for abridgement of funds to accommodate them the all-important healthcare. He additionally absent his aboriginal babe to aerial claret pressure. In October 2019, his wife, Elizabeth who hailed from Ngwa, Abia State, anesthetized on. Afterwards a abode of his own, Monye lives in one-bedroom accommodation accustomed to him by a benefactor. With no bed, he sleeps on a couch, the alone allotment of appliance he has. At 76, he lives on alms. His two actual accouchement are said to authority degrees in engineering and computer science but appropriate now they are yet to defended jobs.
In his closing animadversion during our conversation, he appealed to the three generals he served – Gowon, Obasanjo and Buhari to appear to his aid, address in apperception that they knew all they went through at the battlefront to accumulate Nigeria one. He insists he was unjustly absolved afterwards a penny or any accolade for risking his activity while best of his mates in the army retired as Major Generals. He appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to appear to his aid and not acquiesce him to die in his present condition.
His words: “I am ambrosial to well-meaning Nigerians, His Excellencies, above President Yakubu Gowon, above President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari to appear to my aid. I risked my activity for the adulation I accept for this country. I took bullets so that my country could be adored from disintegration. The accolade I got was biased dismissal. I feel abject and abandoned.
“Currently my apparition is broken as I cannot cartel cantankerous the alley afterwards actuality aided. I charge an eye surgery, which the doctor said would amount me N800,000 but I can’t allow it. Alike money to buy eyeglass, I don’t have. I alive by begging. I don’t alike accept a bed to lay my arch on. Look at me at this age; I beddy-bye on the armchair every day. As I allege with you now, I do not accept achievement for the abutting meal. Please, I am allurement them and bodies in the name of God to advice me and accomplishment me from this suffering.
“President Buhari assured me aback I visited him abounding years ago that he would advice me. I apperceive that if I accept the befalling to see him today, things will change. My botheration now is the affiliation and armamentarium to ability him.”
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