1990: Soldiers involved in Orkar coup executed

On this day in September 1990, 27 soldiers involved in the April 1990 coup attempt against President Ibrahim Babangida were executed. The execution of the soldiers brought the total coup-related executions to 69.

Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar, who was the arrowhead in the coup, was executed in July 1990. Orkar and colleagues seized the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria station, various military posts around Lagos and the Dodan Barracks, Lagos, the military headquarters and presidential residence.

Babangida was present when the barracks were attacked but managed to escape by a back route.

In his coup address, among other things, Orkar called for the consideration of an excision of five northern states.

However, the coup was crushed by the Babangida regime and Orkar was executed for his role.

Orkar was born to the family of Levi Orkar Chi, a teacher who was of Tiv heritage; he was born into a large family and was the ninth child of his father. He was born in Apir village of Gwer Local Government in Benue State.

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At an early age, he went to live with one of his brothers and attended primary school at the village of Apir and Wadata.

He also attended Gindiri Boys High School, Plateau State, and, on completing his secondary education and while taking Higher School Certificate classes, he responded to an army ad and proceeded to join the army in 1972 as cadet 682.

He started his officer cadet training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, with the 12th Regular Combatant Course.

He was commissioned in December 1974 in the rank of Second Lieutenant and posted to the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps School in Ibadan.

Orkar was part of the peacemaking contingent in Chad in 1978. He served in various units, including the Reece at Kaduna, 82, Division, Enugu, and Armoured School, Bauchi.

In 1986, he attended the Senior Officers Course 9 at the Command and Staff College, Jaji.

He also served as commander of Saki 22 Armoured Battalion in Oyo State. His last posting prior to the April 1990 coup was as a member of the directing staff of the Command and Staff College, Jaji.


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