The Joke on BBC? : mystery aout Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

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Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth

Feb 1, 2023, 4:27:30 PMFeb 1
Below is a report by BBC on  August 30, 2010.they seemed to have missed the significance of that date for on that day in 1957 Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was appointed prime minister with a broad based government including all the political parties
The late Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa remains a respected figure in Nigeria
By Caroline Duffield
BBC News, Lagos

There is controversy in Nigeria about the identity of a man linked to the president who was kidnapped and freed in a dramatic rescue over the weekend.

Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, a key political ally of President Goodluck Jonathan, was abducted from his home on Friday.

It provoked widespread shock because he was believed to be the son of Nigeria's first Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who was assassinated.

But after his rescue, the Balewa family told BBC he was not related to them.

The man was trying to campaign for Mr Jonathan ahead of elections due early in 2011, even though the president has not said whether he intends to stand.

Police left nothing to chance to free a man widely believed to be the son of the country's first prime minister.

The gunpoint abduction of President Jonathan's political ally sparked a police operation ending in gunfire, deep in forests outside the capital.

"We staked out the forest undercover," says police spokesman Moshood Jimoh, describing the dramatic kidnap and twilight rescue.

"There was an arrangement to pay the ransom. Secretly, we were there."

Emotive issue

The victim was high-profile. Not only was he the leader of a sensitive campaign to drum up support for Mr Jonathan to stand for president next year, he also bore a revered name.

For those old enough to remember "The Golden Voice of Africa", Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's name and his 1966 assassination evokes emotion.

So no resource was spared to ensure his safety.

But the sting operation, a shoot-out and the captive's rescue were just the beginning of a strange series of questions.

"He is not one of us," Saddik Abubakar Tafawa Balewa told the BBC, after the operation.

"He is neither the nephew, neither the son, neither the grandson of my father," the fourth son of late Sir Abubakar said.

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