•Says rumour handiwork of mischiefmakers
Palpable shock gripped the residents of Minna, Niger State capital and its environs, last Thursday evening, following unconfirmed reports of the sudden death of the ailing former Military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd).
The rumoured death of the elder statesman, reverberated across the country and set the Media Industry aglow, with every Media manager in parts of the country, trying to confirm the truth or otherwise of the rumour.
A message received in Minna, at about 21:13:14 hours (9:13p.m. Nigerian time), on Thursday, September 22, by some state Correspondents read in part: “Please confirm, is it true that Gen IBB is dead? Good evening.”
Nigerian Tribune investigations revealed that nothing of such had happened, adding that IBB, as he is fondly called, was indeed hale and hearty.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, in a brief telephone interview, debunked the rumour, which he described as the handiwork of mischief makers, who did not wish their Patriarch well.
In his words, “Please discountenance the rumour because there is no iota of truth in it and just as I talk to you, the General is doing fine. We were with him earlier in the day and he was in high spirit and he even attended to some of the visitors who came to see him for one thing or the other as usual.”
Also another source stated on Friday, “I am on duty in the house now and the General is around, he is doing well and we are all praying that nothing bad should happen to him because he is a good man and he treats all of us as his biological children, irrespective of your religious belief and ethnic background.
It will, however, be recalled that last month, at an interactive session with selected journalists at his Uphill Mansion, General Babangida had said that he was no longer perturbed with news of his rumoured death in the Mass Media in Nigeria.
At the occasion preceding his 75th birthday ceremonies, on Wednesday, August 17, he stated categorically that he wasn’t disturbed because leaders like the Late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, among others, had suffered similar fate before their eventual death.