One of the activists during the June 12 struggle has recounted how he was shot at by killer soldiers working for the former Military resident Ibrahim Babangida and lost one of his legs in the process.
Activists took to the streets across the country most especially in Lagos and Abuja after the government of Babangida annulled the June 12 1993 presidential election which was won by late MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
One of those who joined the protest is Abiodun Mustapha who is also known as “June 12” by his colleagues.
He said he was motivated by late Dr Beko Ransome Kuti to join the struggle, saying he has no regret for doing what he believed in.
In a publication by The Sun, Mustapha said he was a fashion designer (called tailor back then) until Dr Kuti who was his client, encouraged him to join in protests against military rule and for a better Nigeria.
According to him “I used to make clothes for Dr Beko Ransom Kuti, he was the one that brought me into human rights activism. He used to take me to the NADECO meetings back then. I lost my leg during a rally we held after the annulment of the June 12 election.”
He said he partook in the July 6, 1993 peaceful protest which had the likes of Dr Joe Odumakin, the late Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Femi Falana, and others when the soldiers ambushed them and shot at close range.
“We marched from Chief MKO Abiola’s house to Onipanu through the National Stadium to Alaka.
“We had just left Festac House when soldiers waylaid us and started shooting at us at close range,” he recounted.
He said many people were killed, “And I was hit on my right leg. I almost bled to death, but Dr Beko was quick to save me.
“He put a call to General Diya who sent his men to rescue me. I and about six others were rushed to the General Hospital in Island.”
He said he was at the hospital for two days “till the hospital officials advised me to escape because they got a wind that soldiers would be raiding their hospitals to capture and finish us up.”
He said the hospital staff left them in the wards and locked the hospital and ran for their lives.
How I escaped…
According to Mustapha, who said he managed to drag himself out of his hospital bed to hide somewhere within the hospital in pain, “Those that were too weak to escape were shot dead by the soldiers.”
He said when the soldiers left thinking that no one was left alive within the hospital premises, tried to establish contact with his family in Ilorin.
He said he was taken to the University Teaching Hospital, Ilorin and his leg was amputated “because there was nothing else the doctors could do.
“They said the bullet wound had become infected because it was left for days without proper medical attention,” Mr. Mustapha recounted.
He berated those who tagged June 12 a ‘Yoruba struggle’ an enemy of democracy and freedom.
He said Yorubas were not the only victims of June 12, stating that those who fought for enthronement of democracy deserve better treatment.
Babangida later stepped aside, handed over to Chief Earnest Shonekan as the head of interim government, but Abacha kicked Shonekan out of office.
Abacha’s government arrested Abiola in 1994 after he declared himself the winner of the June 12 1993 election.
He was arrested and died in detention on July 7, 1998, a month after his captor (Abacha) died in office.