Some eminent Nigerians, among them the leader of the pan Yoruba socio- political group, Afeniefere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Lagos lawyer, Barrister Fred Agbaje, have urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of one of the heroes of the Nigerian civil war, Brigadier- General Benjamin Adekunle, who has for the past five years been battling various ailments.
Adekunle, popularly known as ‘Black Scorpion’, was Commander of 3 Marine Commando of the federal troop during the Nigeria/ Biafra Civil War. He has been particularly suffering from memory lapses, according to his son, Abiodun Adekunle.
Fasoranti said the Federal Government should show interest in the welfare of General Adekunle, saying his medical bills should be offset by government. “The Federal Government should see to his welfare because he served the country well.
He was prominent during the civil ear and I think the Government should pay his medical bill. That would encourage other people to serve their country”, Fasoranti said.
Also speaking, another frontline Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said it would be unfortunate if the Federal Government failed to recognise the of caliber of General Adekunle.
“It will be unfortunate for the government not to recognize the need to take care of General Benjamin Adekunle. Government must come to his aid now and take over his medical treatment”, Adebanjo said.
Lagos Lawyer and Human Right Activist, Barrister Fred Agbaje also said Benjamin Adekunle must not die unsung, saying government must take care of his medical expenses immediately “It tells you how Nigeria treats her leaders. It shows how disrespectful we are.
How will a man who has sacrificed his life for the unity of the country to remain sacrosanct, should be neglected and forgotten at a time he needs the country most? Agbaje asks. Abiodun, in a chat with Sunday Mirror yesterday, said his father had been battling the illness for some years and was yet to get deserving attention.
“He is frail, mostly bedridden and suffers from memory lapses which are on and off,” he said, adding, ‘“Many people who are not close to the family have not heard of this because of the nature of the man (Black Scorpion); the family has been fiercely protective of his privacy, but I feel things have come to a head and a strong action needs to be taken now to prolong his life. “My father is currently receiving home treatment. In previous years, he went for some treatments in India.
But rather, we are pleading with the necessary authorities such as the Nigerian Army for assistance, to fly him out to a facility, not in Germany, or Switzerland, but Ghana, where we have identified a facility where such conditions as he’s experiencing are treated and possibly reversed,” Abiodun solicited.
He said he had just returned from Army headquarters’ secretariat to deliver a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter for the Chief of Army Staff, saying that he was expectant.
He also urged the Federal Government to move in quickly to save the life of his father.” I have no choice but to be optimistic about favourable and timely response. I have to believe this current Federal Government though not perfect, in their wisdom understands the ramifications or even the perception of not going all out to do whatever is necessary to come to my father’s aid,” he said.
Abiodun thanked Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur; former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and General Alabi Isama, Adekunle’s former Chief of Staff, for the assistance so far rendered his ailing father.
Abiodun also thanked Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola who had been “sending some funds and inquiring about Black Scorpion’s wellbeing” but expressed regrets that “the funds” the governor had been sending were getting into “wrong hands.” Abiodun also lamented that his father has not been fairly treated considering all that he did for the country during the civil war, stressing that he ought to be honoured or immortalized.
“Look, during the American Civil war, there was a no holds barred soldiers’ soldier fighting for the Union side. He was a General, Sherman was his name. He is recorded as being one of President Abraham Lincoln’s most fearsome warriors. Do you know what he did when he got into the centre of confederate capital, Atlanta? He burned the whole city down to the ground. Slashed and burned, took no prisoners. They considered him an American hero because of his tireless zeal and aggression, prosecuting the Unionist cause. The American government named its most fearsome tank after him,” he recounted.