General Domkat Bali was Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, member, Armed Forces Ruling Council and Minister of Defence when General Ibrahim Babangida (who is marking his 78th birthday on Saturday 17 August 2019), was military President. Bali was the one who, by virtue of his office, announced the execution of General Mamman Vatsa who was tried for an alleged coup plot.
In 2006, TheNEWS team, made up of Babajide Kolade-Otitoju (now of Television Continental, TVC), Ademola Adegbamigbe, Sylvester Asoya and photographer, Akin Farinto interviewed Bali at Ikoyi Golf Course, Lagos. They asked him if there was any action he took while working with Babangida and later thought he should have acted differently?
General Bali answered: “I don’t know whether I would. My regret is that up till now, I am not sure whether Vatsa ought to have been killed because whatever evidence they amassed against him was weak. My only regret is that I cannot say, don’t do it’. I am not so sure whether we were right to have killed him.
When pressed further that the lot was on him to announce the execution, Bali responded:
“That was ok. He was not the only one. There were others involved and the decision of the Council then was that, I, being the Chief of Defence Staff (which covers the three services), would be the one to make the announcement. And not only that, we made sure that those who were connected were killed before my announcement. And I said so in my statement that those who were involved had already been executed. And I have asked myself whether I was crazy to have announced something like that.”
In the interview, General Bali also condemned IBB’s attempt to return to power, murder of Mamman Vatsa and the infamous third term plan of President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as the economic policies of the two leaders.
Read the full interview here: