HomeFeaturesI Narrowly Escaped Death During Military Regime — Activist

I Narrowly Escaped Death During Military Regime — Activist

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A Nigerian national residing in the United States, Yomi Faparusi, has recounted a terrifying ordeal in which he narrowly evaded abduction and murder by the State Security Service (now DSS) during Nigeria’s repressive military regime.

He appealed to young Nigerians to cherish their hard-won voting rights, honoring the memories of those who gave their lives for this freedom. He also  cautioned them against wasting these privileges, and do well to Vote in every election.

On Tuesday, Faparusi recounted to reporters how his vocal support for MKO Abiola, the rightful winner of the 1993 election, led to a plot to eliminate him, highlighting the risks faced by those who dared to challenge the authorities.

Faparusi, a Nigerian-American seeking to represent a Tennessee district in Congress, recounted his harrowing escape from Nigeria in 1997. He fled to the US, seeking political asylum after learning the Abacha regime had marked him for death.

Faparusi recalled how the notorious General Sani Abacha, who seized power after nullifying the June 12 election, unleashed a reign of terror, dispatching hitmen to silence pro-democracy advocates.

He recalled a brush with death at Ibadan’s Aleshinloye market, where three men dressed as security agents ominously followed him, leaving him to wonder if he’d make it out alive.

Read also: Nigerian Military Troops Allegedly Massacre, Sack Ogbaru Town

His said, “In one of those expeditions, Abacha sent his killers to Ibadan in Oyo State to get me and other student union leaders abducted. We were preparing for a nationwide strike and demonstration then; I mean the various groups involved, including students, market women and labour unions.

“But, the plan leaked and the Abacha junta started picking up people. Without cell phones back then I could not get wind of my impending arrest by security agents. At the Aleshinloye market in Ibadan, I saw three men dressed like SSS agents following me. I moved fast and hid in a shop and when I was trying to leave, I saw these men waiting for me.

“Fortunately, one of the store owners allowed me to stay in his shop. He left me at his store after the market closed. After I escaped from the market, I stayed underground. But when I heard that some of my comrades had started disappearing, I decided to flee Nigeria.”

As Faparusi delved into his medical studies at the University of Ibadan, he uncovered a new calling – activism – which would become an integral part of his identity.

He said, “I was active in the students’ union and several demonstrations. Off-campus, I worked with chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress in strategy. Back then, the NLC would have a nationwide strike which was not sustainable for a long time.

“I was one of the proponents of scattered and sequential strikes — different chapters strike at different times so the strikes could be continuous like a relay race. When I got to the US, I attended events organised by NADECO chieftains, including President Bola Tinubu who was a key figure in the struggle for restoration of democracy then.”

Faparusi saluted the bravery of Nigerians, who defied the iron-fisted rule of General Abacha’s military junta, their resistance a shining example of the power of the human spirit.

The ultimate sacrifice made by champions of democracy, who refused to accept the unjust cancellation of the June 12 election, has yielded the dividend of democratic governance Nigeria enjoys today, he noted.

The Eastern Updates 

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