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In the morning of 13th February 1976, a Friday, former Nigerian military head of state, General Murtala Mohammed, was assassinated in his car while stuck in traffic close to George Street, Ikoyi—en route to his office at Dodan Barracks.The car still lies in the National Museum as a sad reminder of the saddest day, in the country’s history.

He was 38 years old, and was only accompanied in his Mercedes Benz saloon car by his aide, Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa, and an orderly who carried a pistol—the only visible protection the men had when they were ambushed by armed soldiers. He was very humble and God Conscious.

The assassination was part of a failed coup attempt, carried out by soldiers loyal to one Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka. However, the coup was crushed and the plotters were publicly executed. He was succeeded by his deputy, General Ousegun Obasanjo, who became Nigeria’s leader for the first time.

Today, Mohammed’s portrait adorns the 20 Naira note, while Lagos International Airport ever since was renamed to Murtala Muhammed International Airport after his death. His adorable wife, mama Ajoke Mohammed, still lives in their home. She hails from Abeokuta, Ogun state, while General Murtala, was from Kano. The unity of Nigeria, then was paramount in the General’s mind.

His regime created more states for the country. He remains the Nigeria Hero. His death on that cold Friday, threw the country into sad moments for many months. For those of us that were alive then, we still mourn him in our hearts. He touched, the fabrics of the country. He ruled for 7 months, but with lasting memories. May he continues to sleep peacefully in the grave and raised as member of Al Jaanat. Amin.

Abdulfattah Abdussalam.

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