How did Tafawa Balewa Die?

A lot has been said recently about the death of Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. A few weeks ago, Matthew Mb u (a former Minister) alleged that Balewa was not killed by soldiers during Nigeria’s first military coup as has been alleged, but actually died of an asthma attack while under their custody. See:

Then Femi Fani-Kayode (son of “Fani Power:) posted a rebuttal of Mbu’s claims:

Things have now taken another turn with The Nation newspaper alleging that Balewa was killed up to five days after the coup. Read on:


The Nation has interviewed two more witnesses. An actual participant in the coup alleges that Balewa was shot:

……and another witness claims the PM was NOT shot:

Interview with Balewa’s son

Interview with retired security office Alhaji Mohammed Gambo Jimeta

Interview with police officer that found Balewa’s body

Statement of Balewa’s ADC to the Police

Matthew Mbu apologises for his comment about Balewa’s death

Official Federal Military Government Announcement of Balewa’s death:

Discovery of Balewa’s Body:

Claims that Balewa was killed FIVE DAYS after Jan 66 Coup

The revent Balewa news took a bizarre twist when a man claiming to be the former PM’s son waskidnapped, then freed by security forces – only to be disowned by Balewa’s family who claimed no knowledge of him!


6 responses

  1. Hello Max,

    I hoped that I’d find material on this subject here. What are your thoughts on TB’s death. I’ve read the excerpt of your book, Oil, Politics and Violence and look forward to getting a copy this week.

    I am also keen to get my hands on David Muffet’s Let Truth Be Told. Do you have any thoughts on where I might find a copy?

    Best Wishes.

    1. Muffet’s “Let Truth Be Told” is out of print. Your best bet for reading it is to go to a library. That being said, I read it and did not find it particularly objective. It very much presents one side of the story only. A more balanced account is in St Jorre’s The Brothers’ War.

      1. Thanks for your reply, Max.

        I’ll order St Jorre’s in addition to OPV. The reviews and tables of content promise much & I trust that I’ll be popping round hear to ask questions every now and then.

        I read your comment on FFK’s facebook note. It’s interesting that you have witness accounts from a medical practitioner. In spite of that, I’m not sure which one of the three accounts to lean towards.

        I’ll let you know once my books arrive.

        1. I presume this comment is from Rosemary? By all means, feel free to ask questions. I welcome them. I personally do not have much faith in the account given by Mbu and Osoba. The overwhelming evidence (from people who actually saw Balewa’s corpse) is that he was SHOT dead.

  2. Aliyu Dantakum | Reply

    God bless you for this nice work do .Arewa leaders who died poor not like this …. of nowadays

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