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General Ironsi And Lt Colonel Fajuyi The Day Before They Were Killed (Photo)

On the 29th of July 1966, Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, the Military Head of state, stopped over in Ibadan as part of a Nationwide tour. He was recieved by Lt Colonel Fajuyi who was Military Governor of the Western Region. Before this visit, Ironsi had been warned several times that Northern elements in the Nigerian Army were planning a counter-Coup to which Ironsi dismissed as 'mere rumour'. After Ironsi and Fajuyi had conducted several meeting and consultations, both men retired to Government House for the night. Early in the morning the next day, a detachment of Soldiers led by Major Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma surrounded Government house Ibadan. On sensing the danger outside, Ironsi hid his son, Thomas Ironsi, in a wardrobe before the Soldiers forced their way into Government House. Ironsi, Fajuyi, Ironsi's ADC Captain Nwankwo and Fajuyi's ADC Lt Bello were all arrested. The four men were taken to a thick forest on the outskirts of Ibadan, off Iwo road. Because Lt Bello was a Northerner, he was released while Nwankwo, Fajuyi and Ironsi were badly beaten. When Fajuyi could no longer stand on his two legs, he was gunned down. It was during the shooting of Fajuyi that Lt Bello created a distraction which helped Captain Nwankwo to escape. Thereafter, Ironsi was also executed.

As part of the Aburi agreement, Ironsi's body was later flown to the East where he was given a state burial in his hometown Umuahia. People openly chanted at Ojukwu to pull the Eastern Region out of Nigeria during the burial proceedings.

Ironsi's ADC, Captain Andrew Nwankwo, escaped from Ibadan back to the East and would later fight on the Biafran side during the war. He later became a Senator representing Ebonyi state.

Lt Bello who helped him escape died in the war

Thomas Ironsi would later become a minister under the regime of Obasunjo.

Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma who killed Ironsi would later become Chief of Army Staff. He retired from the Army in 1979 and went on to become Chairman of Nestle Nigeria. He was appointed Defence minister during the regime of Obasunjo and is today a billionaire Oil mogul.


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