WAS THE BLACK SCORPION BENJAMIN ADEKUNLE A CROOK?

US Diplomatic Cable to Washington 18 February 1976

Sent by Mr Donald Easum U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria

1. A SOURCE, AN AMERICAN MIDDLEMAN WHO HAS ASKED NOT TO BE IDENTIFIED BY NAME OR IMPLICATION, HAS REPORTED AS FOLLOWS TO ME CONCERNING RECENT ACTIVITIES OF GENERAL BENJAMIN ADEKUN, CONTROVERSIAL “BLACK SCORPION” OF NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR DAYS. THE SOURCE KNOWS “BENJIE” WELL. I BELIEVE THAT MOST OF WHAT HE TOLD ME IS THOUGHT BY BOTH MEN TO BE TRUE, BUT BOTH HAVE CONSIDERABLE CAPACITY FOR SELF-DELUSION. 2. PRIOR TO FRIDAY’S COUP ATTEMPT THE MUHAMMED REGIME HAD TOLD ADEKUNLE THEY WANTED HIM TO COME BACK INTO THE GOVERNMENT “IN SIX MONTHS.” NOW HIS PARTICIPATION HAS BEEN URGENTLY REQUESTED BY OBASANJO BUT ADEKUNLE HAS SAID HE CAN’T COME FOR SIX MONTHS BECAUSE “I HAVE TO GET MY BUSINESS AFFAIRS MOVING.” (COMMENT: IT IS EQUALLY LIKELY HE IS BIDING HIS TIME TO SEE HOW SECURE OBASANJO’S TENURE ACTUALLY IS. ADEKUNLE WAS OBASANJO’S COMMANDER DURING THE CIVIL WAR.) 3. SOURCE BELIEVES ADEKUNLE WANTS TO BE HEAD OF STATE HIMSELF. HE HAS ASKED SOURCE TO GET HIM A LIMOUSINE WITH FULL PROTECTIVE ARMOR. CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 LAGOS 02024 182027Z 4. MUHAMMED HAD INTRODUCED ADEKUNLE TO NETO AS “MY PERSONAL AGENT FOR ANGOLAN MATTERS.” ADEKUNLE WANTS SOURCE TO OBTAIN TRUCKS AND FOOD (GRAIN, MEAT, FLOUR, MILK POWDER, ETC.) FOR THE MPLA. THESE PURCHASES WOULD BE MADE “WITH ANGOLAN MONEY” CONTRIBUTED BY A NUMBER OF FOREIGN (I.E. NON-ANGOLAN) SOURCES. SOURCE HAS ASKED ADEKUNLE TO GET HIM OUT OF NIGERIA TO ACCRA NOW BUT HE SAYS THE TWO OF THEM HAVE A LONGER TERM PLAN TO GO TO THE US TOGETHER SOON IN ORDER TO ARRANGE THESE PURCHASES FOR ANGOLA. 5. ADEKUNLE TOLD SOURCE THAT A CERTAIN COLONEL HAD CALLED HIM EARLY LAST WEEK TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE ADEKUNLE AT THE LATTER’S HOUSE BETWEEN 7 AND 7:30 FRIDAY MORNING, THE DAY MUHAMMED WAS SHOT. ADEKUNLE DID NOT KEEP THE APPOINTMENT, AND NOW BELIEVES HE WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED HAD HE BEEN THERE. (COMMENT: IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED TO TAKE A POSITION IN A DIMKA-SPONSORED REGIME BUT NOW DOESN’T DARE TALK ABOUT THE RENDEZVOUS IN THOSE TERMS.) EASUM

Another US Diplomatic cable sent by Easum. General Adekunle had access to The Angola MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) 100 million U.S. dollars accounts in Lagos banks.

1. IN A CHANCE CONVERSATION FEBRUARY 24, BRIGADIER BENJAMIN ADEKUNLE ASKED ME ABOUT PRESS REPORTS OF NORMALIZATION OF GULF/MPLA RELATIONSHIP AND US SALE OF TWO JET AIRCRAFT TO ANGOLA. HIS QUESTION WAS PROMPTED BY FACT THAT HIS NEGOTIATING WITH VARIOUS SUPPLIERS (INCLUDING AMERICAN FIRMS) TO BUY MASSIVE QUANTITIES OF FOOD (WHEAT, RICE, FLOUR, SUGAR, MILK POWDER, BEEF, LAMB AND PORK) FOR AIR DELIVERY TO LUANDA. (UNTIL LUANDA’S REFRIGERATING EQUIP MENT IS REPAIRED, ADEKUNLE HAS TO HOLD OFF ON THE MEAT DELIVERIES.) ADE- KUNLE IS ALSO SEEKING SUPPLIERS FOR MILITARY TRUCKS AND FATIGUE UNIFORMS AND ARMY BOOTS FOR THE MPLA. PAYMENT FOR ALL THESE SUPPLIES WOULD BE MADE FROM -$100 MILLION BEING HELD IN LAGOS BANKS ON MPLA ACCOUNT. 2. ADEKUNLE IS WORRIED ABOUT DIRECT AIR TRANSPORT FROM US TO LUANDA, FEARING CAB DISAPPROVAL. HIS IDEA HAS BEEN TO “LAUNDER” THE TRANSACTION BY SELLING TO SPANISH, LEBANESE OR OTHER MIDDLE- MEN, WHO WOULD IN TURN TRANSFER THE SUPPLIES TO LUANDA. HE TALKS CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 LAGOS 02338 260714Z ABOUT USING A DC-10. ADEKUNLE THINKS THIS MIDDLEMAN ARRANGEMENT MIGHT BE UNNECCESSARY IF USG ATTITUDE TOWARD COMMERCIAL RELATION- SHIPS WITH ANGOLA IS BECOMING “MORE PRAGMATIC.” 3. ADEKUNLE CLAIMS THAT CUBANS IN LUANDA HAVE TOLD HIM THEY WOULD NOT ACCEPT FOODSTUFFS FROM THE US UNLESS HE COULD ASSURE THEM “THE CIA” WOULD NOT POISON IT AS THEY DID WITH CUBAN SUGAR BACK IN BAY OF PIGS DAYS.” 4. ADEKUNLE SHOWS HIMSELF AS PRO-US, ANTI-BRITISH, ANTI-SOVIET AND ANTI-GERMAN. HE STATES CATEGORICALLY THAT THE UK WAS BEHIND THE RECENT COUP ATTEMPT. IT STILL RANKLES THAT THE US DID NOT HELP THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DURING THE CIVIL WAR, AND HE SAYS HE IS ANGRY THAT THE US IGNORES AFRICA, DOESN’T APPRECIATE NIGERIA, AND WON’T GIVE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO US INVESTORS AND TRADERS IN AFRICA. HE CRITICIZES PRESIDENT FORD’S LETTER AND US POLICY ON ANGOLA. YET HE PROFESSES STRONG ADMIRATION FOR THE US, ITS FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM, AND THE RELEVANCE FOR NIGERIA OF US EXPERIENCE AND TECHNIQUES. HE HATES THE GERMANS, HE SAYS, BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS KILLED BY THEM. AS FOR THE SOVIETS, HE IS GRATEFUL FOR THEIR SUPPORT DURING THE CIVIL WAR BUT SAYS “WE WOKE UP TO WHAT THEY WANTED WHEN WE FOUND THAT POLITICAL INDOCTRINATION ACCOMPANIES EVERYTHING THEY DO FOR US, INCLUDING THE IRON AND STEEL FIASCO AND THEIR TRAINING OF OUR PILOTS.” 5. ADEKUNLE IS REPORTEDLY WELL CONNECTED WITH CURRENT FMG LEADER- SHIP, BUT AS DEPARTMENT AWARE HE HAS IN THE PAST PROVED MERCURIAL, UNSTABLE AND GIVEN TO EXCESSES THAT HAVE TURNED MANY AGAINST HIM. APPRICIATING ADEKUNLE’S REPUTATION FOR SHADY BUSINESS DEALS, WE REPORT ABOVE PROPOSITION FOR DEPARMEMT’S INFORMATION AND ANY COMMENT IT MAY HAVE TO OFFER. INTER ALIA, WE WOULD APPRICIATE GUIDANCE ON QUESTION OF COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS WITH ANGOLA. WIRELESS FILE REPORT FOR TRATTNER AND NESSEN RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS ABOUT GULF/CABINDA IMPLIES ROOM FOR NAMEUVER. EASUM CONFIDENTIALImage

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6 thoughts on “WAS THE BLACK SCORPION BENJAMIN ADEKUNLE A CROOK?

  1. Pingback: WAS THE BLACK SCORPION BENJAMIN ADEKUNLE A CROOK? | madukovich's cogitations

  2. General Benjamin Adekunle is a soldier and a trained and very pragmatic military leader who is apolitical and lack business acumen. Normally and typically those are not the characters of any soldier. General Adekunle is a Goal-Getter who can only fit in as President of a country.

  3. My role mdl is brg,benjamin adekunle a.k.a black scorpion my eye shrd tears wen i hrd is ill bcos i like him most in my life.i wish 2 see him 1day nd i dont no his place pls i just ned hlp 2 see him my eye is full of tears.wish 2 be lyk a gr8 herro lyk him BRAVO u can contact me for hlp (08182144329)

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