Some victims of the 1995 phantom coup have appealed to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Senate to intervene in their pending demands for promotion and compensation following the injustice meted out on them over their alleged indictment by a military tribunal set up by the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
The retired military officers made the appeal in separate letters to the Vice President and the Senate, copies of which were obtained by Sunday Sun. The letter entitled “Appeal for the Vice President/ Senate Intervention in Our Demand for Promotion and Compensation for Colonel Gabriel Adetunji Ajayi and 37 other Officers and Soldiers who were Unjustly Arrested, Badly Tortured and Convicted for 1995 Phantom Coup Plot Saga and signed by Colonel Gabriel Adetunji Ajayi (rtd) on behalf of 37 others, said the appeal was informed by the need to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission headed by late retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa.
The letters read in part: “Following that reported phantom coup d’état of 1995 we were unjustly arrested, tortured and tried by what could be termed a kangaroo tribunal, convicted and given outrageous sentences. Those initially sentenced to life imprisonment had their prison terms reduced to between six months and 15 years.
“Despite our unconditional pardon we were compulsorily and prematurely retired without taking due cognizance of our outstanding records in the miltary service.
The letters further stated that the Justice Oputa-led investigation commission recommended that the affected soldiers should “be promoted to their appropriate higher ranks in line with their course mates in the Armed Forces and to be followed by voluntary retirement as well as to be compensated by the Federal Government,” after all the charges against them were quashed, received some level of attention from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which “took necessary legal and administrative actions by taking the issue to the national council of state, as contained in the National Council of state Memoranda CS – 2009 dated 23rd June 2009 and CS – 2013 dated 17th March 2013. Grape vine sources however revealed to us that the matter is held up in the Department of Prerogative of Mercy Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja.