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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Aguiyi Ironsi Was Killed on This Day in 1966

Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi was Nigeria’s first Military Head of State.  

He seized power amidst the ensuing chaos following the military coup of 15th January 1966. 

From What Region is Aguiyi Ironsi? 

He is from Umuahia. The state capital of Abia State is Umuahia, which is located in southeast Nigeria. Umuahia is situated alongside the train line that connects Enugu City to the north and Port Harcourt to the south. 359,230 people were counted in Umuahia in the Nigerian census of 2006. Umuahia’s native people are Igbo. 

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Political Achievement 

He ruled from 16 January 1966 until his assassination on 29 July 1966 by a group of mutinous Northern Nigerian officers and men led by Major Murtala Mohammed and included Captain Theophilus Danjuma, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida and Lieutenant Sani Abacha in a revolt against his government in what was popularly called the July Counter Coup. 

On 29 July 1966, Aguiyi Ironsi slept at the Government House in Ibadan, as part of a nationwide tour. His host, Lieutenant Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, Military Governor of Western Nigeria, alerted him to a possible mutiny within the army. Aguiyi-Ironsi desperately tried to contact his Army Chief of Staff, Yakubu Gowon, but he was unreachable.

In the early hours of the morning, the Government House, Ibadan, surrounded by soldiers led by Theophilus Danjuma. 

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Aguiyi Ironsi Arrest 

Danjuma arrested Aguiyi-Ironsi and questioned him about his alleged complicity in the coup, which saw the demise of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello. The circumstances leading to Aguiyi-Ironsi death still remain a subject of much controversy in Nigeria. His body and that of Fajuyi was later discovered in a nearby forest. 

Nigeria’s First Coup 

Many northern military commanders, including Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammad,also involved in its planning. In response to the deaths of Northern politicians and officers by some troops on January 15, 1966, the coup started as a mutiny at around midnight on July 28, 1966. 

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