Amos Iyari Monier: I beg you to feed, despite the fact that I worked under Bukhari, Obasanjo, Govon
Captain Amos Iyari Monye (retired) tells a reporter how, despite risking his life during the Nigerian civil war, he was shot and worked with three senior officers who later became heads of state / presidents, he lives in poverty and begs. feed
What was your army number?
I am Captain Amos Iyari Monye (retired), with number NA / 1239. I was born in 1944 to the late Pa Oko Monye from the Aligwe neighborhoods, Ova Alero, Northeastern Ica Local Government, Delta State.
What schools did you go to?
I started my primary education in 1952 and graduated in 1958. I started secondary education in 1959 at CMS Modern School, Agbor, Delta State and graduated in 1961. Subsequently I worked as a teacher at CMS Primary School, Alhiagu, 1962. In April 1963, some of my colleagues and I were fired because we were not second grade teachers.
When were you drafted into the Nigerian army?
On September 27, 1963, I joined the Nigerian Army in Ibadan, Oyo State, and was sent to the Nigerian Army Depot for recruitment training, where I took a six-month recruitment course. I passed out in April 1964 and was sent to the 2nd Battalion of Abeokuta. In August of the same year, the entire battalion was transferred to the canton of Ikea in the state of Lagos.
I served under three senior officers who later became military heads of state and presidents of this country, one of whom is the incumbent President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Bukhari.
What was your military experience?
In January 1966, while I was still in the canton of Ikea, I got 19 days off to take the London General Certificate of Education exam. On January 15, 1966, a coup took place under the leadership of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. On September 15 of the same year, a counter-coup took place, led by several Hausa soldiers, but led by General Murtala Mohammed. There, in the barracks, the Hausa soldiers began shooting and killing Igbo. And since many of them thought I was an Igbo man, they shot me in the arm and took me to the guard room. There were many of us in the “guardroom” (a general term for a small cell). Igbo, Yoruba, and soldiers of other ethnic groups were tortured and ill-treated.
How did you run away?
On the 10th day of our imprisonment, while we were awaiting execution, Ahmadu Finger came and assured me that nothing would happen to me. He convinced the other soldiers that I was not Igbo, but from the Midwest. This is how I escaped murder. Soon after Ahmadu Finger left, Lieutenant Mohammed Nasarawa named those who were to be released, and I was among them.
After we were released, Major General Yakubu Gowon visited 10 of us and told us not to run away, but to stay and work with the other soldiers. The next day, nine out of ten released from us fled. They could not trust them because of the inhuman treatment of us. But I decided to stay because I love and work hard for my homeland.
A few months later, I and some other soldiers were taken to Kaduna, but I felt uncomfortable being alone among the people who wanted me dead. So, I went to beg the then commander, the late Captain Isa Buka, who was later executed during a coup led by Buka Suka Dimka, to give me an official mission in Benin, but I was refused a stern warning never to make such a request again, otherwise you will be treated like an Igbo man.
We were still in Kaduna when General Gowon created 12 states by military decree in 1967 to replace the regions. Around the same time, Chukemek Ozyukvu declared Biafra. I got sick and was taken to a military hospital, where doctors from the Nigerian army and air force helped me, but I never recovered, so I was taken to Dr. Oshodi, who diagnosed my condition as psychological and recommended in a letter to the commander that I be sent to more comfortable place. The commander called me to praise my courage and assured me that he would write to Apapa’s registrar, Lagos, to officially republish me in Benin.
Pending my intervention, it was announced that my battalion was moving towards the border. I expected to be among the “rear officers” (elderly and sick soldiers who usually guarded the barracks when the soldiers were not fighting), but, unfortunately, when the list of rear officers came out, I was not included in the list. I felt so bad because I needed to take care of my health.
What have you done?
I approached Muhammad Bukhari, who was an adjutant at the time (an adjutant is a military officer who acts as an administrative assistant to a senior officer) and told him that I was sick and awaiting a letter. Bukhari told me that it was too late. So I had no choice but to move with the battalion to the north-south border and settle in the village of Adikpo, in what is now Benue State.
Bukhari later became the head of state and is currently the president. Have you worked with anyone else who became the head of state?
I worked with General Gowon (former head of state), General Olusegun Obasanjo, former head of state and then president. But Bukhari was closest to me. He knew almost, if not all, of my military expeditions.
When were you appointed lieutenant?
After passing the Enugu exam, I was taken to Lagos for the final exam organized by Olusegun Obasanjo, and I also came out with honor. With this result, in 1968 I was accepted into the NDA for an officer’s course. I passed out in August 1969 and was appointed a junior lieutenant. After that, I was assigned to 3 Marine commandos at Port Harcourt, where I met Obasanjo as my commanding general. Obasanjo was then a colonel.
When did you leave the army?
I was unfairly fired. When I was a captain, there was a charge of embezzlement of funds intended for soldiers, brought against the brigade major of the battalion, the captain, who was our chief, at the written request of some soldiers, claiming that he embezzled the money given to him to share with the soldiers.
It is not fair that three South-South officers who had nothing to do with the aforementioned theft, including myself (Delta State) and two other colleagues, were unceremoniously fired from the army in 1975.
We were fired with the insinuation that we could have provoked the soldiers to petition our boss for misappropriating money intended to be given to the soldiers. This money should have been shared with us, the officers subordinate to him, and with the soldiers. Surprisingly, the person accused of stealing money was acquitted, and we, who were supposed to receive the money, were fired.
What do you regret?
This is one of the greatest injustices I have received in my life from the country for which I risked my life. All attempts to prove our innocence regarding the charges have failed because they did not listen to us. We didn’t have a godfather to support our appeal. We had no choice but to return to different homes without compensation or any kind of support.
What have you been doing since you left the service?
Offended by military expeditions, injustice and denial, I was in my homeland, Ova Alero. I feel abandoned, depressed and depressed. I begged for food, despite the fact that I fought in the Nigerian army, received the rank of captain and became a battalion commander.
I started trading but it was not easy until a few years ago I started having eye problems.
What efforts have you made with President Major General Muhammad Bukhari (ret.) To address your issue?
When Bukhari was head of state between 1983 and 1985, I struggled to see him as my former boss, but before I could raise money to visit him, General Ibrahim Babangida’s coup forced him out of office.
Later I visited Bukhari in Kaduna, where we discussed him at length in his living room. During this visit, Bukhari, who was aware of my work, my efforts, the risks I took to keep Nigeria as a whole, and the truth about my unjust dismissal from the army, encouraged me to maintain a channel of communication by regularly visiting him. since he would like to work. with me in the future, as if he knew that he would later manage the affairs of this country. Since then I could not visit it due to lack of funds and communication.
What about your wife and your children?
On October 1, 1971, I married my beloved wife, Elizabeth Chinedu Monier, who is from Ngwa, Abia State. Unfortunately, she passed away in October 2019. I had six children, three boys and three girls, but I lost all three children due to lack of funds to provide them with the necessary medical care. Also, I lost my first daughter to high blood pressure. This is how I lost four children.
How are you doing now?
It was very difficult. We do not have our own house and cannot rent it due to lack of funds. I live in a one-bedroom apartment that was provided to me by one of the people I was pleased with on duty. There is no bed, so I sleep on the sofa, which is the only piece of furniture I have.
Where are your two surviving children now?
They are with me, they are still struggling to survive. They have degrees in engineering and computer science, but are unemployed.
What do you want the government to do for you?
I appeal to the three generals under whom I served: General Gowon (retired), General Obasanjo (retired), and President Bukhari, to come to my aid. Thank God they are still alive and strong. They knew everything I went through at the front to keep Nigeria.
I also call on well-meaning Nigerians to come to my aid and not let me die under these conditions. I want to have a home and a livelihood.
I risked my life for this country. I took bullets to save my country from decay. The reward I received was unfair dismissal. I feel depressed and abandoned. My eyesight is now very poor and I cannot even cross the street without help.
I need eye surgery, which according to the doctor will cost me 800,000 N, but I cannot afford it. I don’t even have money for glasses. Please survive. I don’t even have a bed to lay my head on. I am old, but I sleep in a chair every day. I don’t know where my next meal will be. Please, I ask in the name of God, help me and save me from this suffering.
President Bukhari assured me when I visited him many years ago that he would help me. I know that if I have the opportunity to see Bukhari today, everything will change. My problem now is how to get the connection and the money I need to do it. I pray that President Bukhari will read this interview.
Today, many people who have vowed to die for their homeland are devastated by poverty, and the government receives no help. The fourth and fifth lines of our national anthem say: “The labor of our past heroes will never be in vain …”, but my own efforts seem in vain.
Source: – Punch ng