It's no secret that you always had your time with him in the evenings.
-Achacha's last 24 hours before his death, how were they like? What actually killed Abacha?
Well, it is true that I always saw him in the evening. One thing I made sure was that I never took official matters to him. I never went there to gossip. As I said, we had been long time friends. Some times I would wait up till 11pm or 12 mid-night so that he would have finished with all those people who would normally take their problems to him. I think that day I just came back from Gusau and I was feeling tired and I thought I would take the evening off.
But once I came in, I got a telephone call from the Villa that they were waiting for me there. I think it was the day (late) Yasser Arafat came to Nigeria and Abacha was to receive him. In fact, by the time we finished Abacha himself was very tired because he slept all through the evening on our way back from the airport.
So I told people that the man was tired they should allow him rest. So I went back to meet him around 10pm or so and I left him around 2:30am. The next morning around 10:30 I think I had two administrators with me in the office when another call came. They said they were waiting for me at the Villa and I got a bit upset that why must they always wait for me at the Villa, every time they are waiting for me, they are waiting for me. When I got to the Villa, they said Abacha died. I said, died? But I was with him till very late.
-The story people have refused to let go of is that you were both out very late, enjoying and drinking with some woman and that he ate apple and died of possible poisoning from the apple?
People said all that, about apple poisoning him, some women poisoned him and all that. There is an autopsy report on what killed him.
-But the autopsy report could be doctored to protect him?
Doctored how? They cut his body and sent to Germany. The report that came back said Abacha died of natural causes. They cut his body again and sent to the United Kingdom, the report that came back said he died of natural causes. The man had been ill any way.
-They (the military council) by-passed you because they felt you had a hand in his death?
Yes! I was suspected, and they made Abdulsalami head of state, though militarily, I was the most senior officer at that time.