Inside Kalakuta Republic: The Day the Nigerian Army Invaded Fela Kuti’s Compound


Eyewitness account from one of Fela Kuti’s wives who witnessed the day when Nigerian army soldiers invaded Fela Kuti’s compound in Lagos. The soldiers stormed Fela’s so called “Kalakuta Repuplic” compound in Lagos. Fela’s 77 year old mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was thrown off an upstairs balcony downstairs, and died from her injuries. Accounts claim that other women in the compound were beaten and/or raped, and Fela’s possessions were looted.

In anger Fela carried a replica of his mother Funmilayo’s coffin to Dodan Barracks (then the seat of Nigeria’s military government and defence headquarters).


The wife claimed that then Nigerian Head of State Lt-General Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy (Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters) Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, were physically present during the operation.

A government investigation into the attack claimed the raid was carried out by “unknown soldiers”. He later composed a song called “unknown soldiers”.


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