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Sani Abacha (Gen Sani Abacha)

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Welcome to Logbaby’s Biography of  General Sani Abacha


Name: General Sani Abacha

Date of Birth September 20, 1943

Relationship Status: Married

Spouse: Maryam Abacha (m. 1965–1998)

Occupation: Soldier

Date of Death:  8 June 1998

Buried:  8 June 1998




Gen Sani Abacha was a Kanuri from Borno although he was born and brought up in Kano State Nigeria. 


Institution Date
City Senior Primary School, Kano NA
Provincial Secondary School (now government college), Kano. 1957-1962
Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna 1962-1963
 MONS Defence Officers' Cadet Training College, Aldershot, Uk. 1964
Command and staff College, Jaji,  1976
Passed Staff College 1976
School of Infantry, Warminster Uk. 1966-1971
Command and staff College, Jaji,  1976
National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Jos. 1981
Member National Institue(mni) 1981
Senior International Defence Course, Montery, California, USA. 1982



Rank Date
Second Lieutenant  1963
Lieutenant  1966
Captain  1967
Major  1969
Lieutenant Colonel 1972
Colonel  1975 
Brigadier  1980
Major General  1984
 Lieutenant-General  1987
General 1990



Platoon and Battalion Commander
Commander, Training Department, 2nd Infantry Division
General Staff officer Grade ii, 2nd Infantary Division
General Staff Officer Grade 1, Nigerian Army School of Infantry
Commanding Officer, 2nd Infantry Brigade
HQ sector; Battery Commander, Brigade Commander and Assistant Quatermaster General,2nd Division
General Staff Officer Grade 1
Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Commanding Officer 2nd Infantry Brigade
Former Director Army Training Unit
9th Mechanised Brigade
General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Division 
Army Chief of Staff and member, Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC),
Minister of Defence
Presidency (1993 to 1998)



Squash, Lawn, Tennis, Billards,



Gen. Sani Abacha was married to Maryam Abacha had seven sons and three daughters. He left fifteen grandchildren: eight girls and seven boys.


Name Relationship
Mohammed Abacha Son
Mahmud Sani Abacha Son
Abdullahi Abacha Son
Ibrahim Abacha Son
Abba Abacha Son
Sadiq Abacha Son
Al Mustapha Abacha Daughter
Zainab Abacha Daughter
Fatima Gumsu Sani Abacha Daughter
Rakiya Abacha Daughter



Abacha's military career is distinguished by a string of successful coups. He is by some records the most successful coup plotter in the history of Nigeria's military. Abacha, then a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion in Kaduna, took part in the July 1966 Nigerian counter-coup from the conceptual stage.He may have been a participant in the Lagos or Abeokuta phases of the coup the previous January as well.(citation needed)

He was also a prominent figure in the 1983 Nigerian coup d'état which brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power in 1983, and the August 1985 coup which removed Buhari from power (citation needed)When General Ibrahim Babangida was named President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1985.


During Abacha's regime, he and his family reportedly stole a total of £5 billion from the country's coffers. In 2004, Abacha was listed as the fourth most corrupt leader in history.Interestingly, during a service marking the 10th year anniversary of the death of the dictator, several former Nigerian heads of state, including Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, refuted claims that Abacha looted the country, claiming such accusations are "baseless". Abacha's national security adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, played a central role in the looting and transfer of money to overseas accounts.His son Mohammed Abacha and best friend Alh. Mohammed M. Sada were also involved.

A preliminary report published by the Abdulsalam Abubakar transitional government in November 1998 described the process. Sani Abacha told Ismaila Gwarzo to provide fake funding requests, which Abacha approved. The funds were usually sent in cash or travellers' cheques by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Gwarzo, who took them to Abacha's house. Mohammed Sada then arranged to launder the money to offshore accounts. But interestingly, several calls for the prosecution of MM.Sada were turned down by the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency even after being indicted by the Justice Oputa lead Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission (popularly known as Oputa Panel). An estimated $1.4 billion in cash was delivered in this way.

In March 2014, the United States Department of Justice revealed that it had frozen more than $458 million believed to have been illegally obtained by Abacha and other corrupt officials.



Early in 1998, Abacha announced that elections would be held that August, with a view toward handing power to a civilian government on 1 October. It soon became apparent, though, that Abacha had no intention of permitting an honest election; by April he had strong-armed the country's five parties into endorsing him as the sole presidential candidate.

Abacha died in June 1998 while at the presidential villa in Abuja. He was buried on the same day, according to Muslim tradition, without an autopsy. This fueled speculation that he may have been executed extrajudicially by way of being poisoned by political rivals via prostitutes. The government identified the cause of death as a sudden heart attack. It is reported that he was in the company of two Indian prostitutes imported from Dubai. It is thought that the prostitutes laced his drink with a poisonous substance, making Abacha feel unwell around 4:30am. He retired to his bed and was dead by 6:15am.

After Abacha's death, Maj. Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff, was sworn in as the country's head of state. Abubakar had never before held public office and was quick to announce a transition to democracy, which led to the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo.


General Abacha's legacy is mixed. His administration oversaw ECOMOG military successes in West Africa that raised Nigeria's military profile.

In February 2014, during Nigeria's centenary celebrations, the Nigerian government honored Abacha for his immense contribution to the nation's development though Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka who was similarly honored by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan criticized the honor bestowed on Abacha by rejecting the honor, noting it as the 'canonization of terror'.Soyinka further noted that by honoring Abacha, the government of Goodluck Jonathan had gathered "a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, then placed it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even – worship".Abacha was largely unpopular in southern Nigeria because of his administration's human rights abuses, execution of Ken Saro Wiwa, resulting in Nigeria attaining a pariah status internationally.



After Abacha's death, the Obasanjo government implicated Abacha and his family in a wholesale looting of Nigeria's coffers. The late dictator's son, Mohammed Abacha, continues to maintain that all the assets in question were legitimately acquired.

In 2002, Abacha's family purportedly agreed to return $1.2 billion that was taken from the central bank.


On August 7, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the largest forfeiture in the DOJ's history: the return of $480 million to the Nigerian government.Assistant Attorney General Caldwell noted that "rather than serve his country, General Abacha used his public office in Nigeria to loot millions of dollars, engaging in brazen acts of kleptocracy". “With this judgment, we have forfeited $480 million in corruption proceeds that can be used for the benefit of the Nigerian people. Through the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division denies kleptocrats like Abacha the fruits of their crimes, and protects the U.S. financial system from money laundering. In coordination with our partners in Jersey, France and the United Kingdom, we are helping to end this chapter of corruption and flagrant abuse of office.”

According to the DOJ forfeiture, the assets returned to the Nigerian government represented proceeds of corruption during and after the military regime of General Abacha.

The complaint alleges that General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of bonds backed by the United States.

As alleged in the complaint, General Abacha and others systematically embezzled billions of dollars in public funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria under a false national security imperative.

The complaint further alleged that Abacha and his conspirators withdrew the funds in cash and then moved the money overseas through U.S. financial institutions. General Abacha and his finance minister also allegedly caused the government of Nigeria to purchase Nigerian government bonds at vastly inflated prices from a company controlled by Bagudu and Mohammed Abacha, generating an illegal windfall of more than $282 million. In addition, General Abacha and his associates allegedly extorted more than $11 million from a French company and its Nigerian affiliate in connection with payments on government contracts. Funds involved in each of these schemes were allegedly laundered through the United States.




Article Credit: Kenechuwu


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