Brigadier-General John Atom Kpera retired from the Nigerian Army in 1985 after serving in various capacities for over two decades.
He became the military governor of the defunct East Central State (later Anambra State) between 1975 and 1978 and that of his home state Benue between 1984 and 1985 during the military regime of General Muhammadu Buhari.
He retired to his country home in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State where he has been living a quiet life.
In this exclusive interview, Atom Kpera reveals how he actively participated in Nigeria’s first military coup in 1966.
He also spoke about his experience at the Haile Selassie Military Academy Ethiopia where he made an unsuccessful attempt to become an Air Force pilot, among other things.
In a matter of days, precisely on January 3, 2018, you will be clocking 77 years of age. As an elder statesman who has had a rich military career spanning several years before retirement, how does it feel attaining this age in life?
I am actually most grateful to God because not many of us born on that day are still alive. I feel quite contented and satisfied with what God has given me and how He has treated me so far. Therefore, I can only thank God and say, I am perfectly happy.
Looking back at your early days in life as a child, how was it like growing up in your hometown here in Gboko?
It was quite exciting, I would say. I was born to a very poor family and went through school not really as comfortable as others did. I had to spend part of my early life with my uncle and later grew up with my grandmother at Mkar and my late uncle here in Gboko. As I said, ours was not a rich family but my uncle gave me all that he could at that time. I must say that it was not the best of it but it was what he could give me. I recall with a bit of excitement that here in Gboko, I was everything but nothing so to speak. I started the day with a lot of house chores; sweeping the compound, fetching water for my uncle and his wife and such things before going to school.
Our reporting time at the school was 7 am and I had to walk some 10 minutes to school from our house at Agedan. You dared not come late to school just like you dared not miss the house chores that you had to do. But as time went on, I got used to the routine and I thank God that my uncle was kind enough to take care of me to the best of his ability. At a stage he left; he had to go away from town (Gboko), so we were set in a bit of hard time but in spite of his absence God was able to provide our needs, not adequate but we were able to manage through. So my life at that time was like every other person’s. We didn’t expect much and there was not really much to be given in the early 1950s; we had to rely mostly on what the then Tiv Native Authority could give us – public water system.
We had no electricity because nobody had electricity in Nigeria so we had to depend on our kerosene lamps. I tell this with a bit of excitement that some nights I went out selling kerosene on the streets of Gboko. I remember when I used to hold kerosene in bottles and shout ‘kananjir’ to attract customers. Sometimes you would fall and the bottle would break and then you faced a problem at home. These are some of the little things that I look back at with nostalgia. But our children today are not going through these at all because you now have electricity and water unlike then when we had to go to the stream for drinking water, and the early morning house chores. My uncle and his wife had to take their bath and go to work, then we would sweep the compound. It was quite exciting, I would say. Then we didn’t like it but in the end, we said nothing else could have been done.
Who would you say had the greatest influence on your life at that early age?
It is hard to remember, but our headmaster was His Royal Majesty the late James Akperan Orshi. He was a strict disciplinarian but extremely hardworking. He caught my attention at my early life and I must say he was one person I really looked up to. I was little but he simply impressed me with almost everything he did at school. When I started growing up, I had a lot of other people I came in contact with. I was also introduced to Christianity and had some of the pastors and clergy that were very good and I wanted to be like them. But in all, the late Akperan Orshi had the greatest influence on me because when I was about finishing from secondary school, I wanted to be a teacher. But eventually, God changed my dream of being a teacher to become a soldier.
It seems the affinity between you and your birthplace, Gboko, never eroded in spite of the years you spent in the military. Even after retirement you still stick around. What is the bond?
It was actually not a matter of bond but out of necessity. When I retired in 1985, I had no other place with a house except in Gboko. Of course, you would recall that in the early days, if you asked every Tiv man from Benue State where he hailed from he would refer to Gboko. So I had a little bungalow here and when I retired in 1985, I had to move in with my family. To tell you the truth, when I came and met my mentor, the late Akperan Orshi, he asked me a similar question about where I would stay and I said, I would remain in Gboko. His response was: “No you can’t be in Gboko, but I said, ‘But I don’t have any house elsewhere like Lagos or Kaduna where I could move to but I have one in Gboko.’ So I had to stick to Gboko as a matter of necessity. I must say that since then I have not regretted. If I had ventured to stay elsewhere, I would have been very artificial, but I moved here with my wife and children. I thank God that we went through initial hardship and adjusted to it.
It is rather interesting that you earlier said you wanted to be a teacher but ended up as a soldier. Did you become a soldier by accident?
It looks very much like an accident because in those days when we had just gotten our independence, there was a policy of nationalization of almost everything, including the military. The British, being what they were, were very serious at it. We had an expatriate captain who came to our school and gave us a lecture to entice us into joining the Army.
It wasn’t only in our school, it was in all schools in the Northern Region at the time. This recruiting officer came to talk to us at Katsina-Ala where I went to school. He said those of us who wanted to give our names would be called to Kaduna for an interview and we would be paid allowances and that we would go with a trained government warrant. It was attractive at that time so I came and discussed it with my late uncle who asked me to go and see what it looked like in Kaduna.
So off I went to Kaduna and attended the interview and, of course, they paid us the allowance and I came back. Not quite long thereafter, precisely within a week, they sent what they used to call telegram with a trained warrant that I should go to Kaduna. I told my uncle I would not go to Kaduna after all I had earlier objected to joining the Army. He said, “Well, since they have sent you a trained warrant and they may still be giving you allowance, just go and see what it looks like.” So I went to Kaduna again and there I was one of the first 20 that were selected and they told us straight away that we were going for military training.
So I rushed back to Gboko and still protested to my uncle that I didn’t want to be in the Army. He said, ‘Well, you have no idea what it holds for you.’ They sent another telegram to the District Officer here that I should go and the then District Officer came and prevailed on me to go. To cut a long story short, I went back, and immediately I got to Kaduna we were taken to Lagos where we were kitted and flown to Ethiopia for military training. So that was how I became a military man rather than a teacher.
Incidentally, the Army has been a profession of choice or so it seems for your kinsmen, the Tiv people. What do you think is the motivation?
That is a bit difficult, but I know that the Tiv man is a very brave person. He doesn’t care who you are; hence the popular slogan ‘me gbide u’ (I will beat you). So I would say that is basically what motivates them and, of course, other than that many of them were attracted to the military to earn a living and exhibit their boldness. Also in 1945, at the end of the World War II, many of them that came back and were always in uniforms and were always proud of it. Therefore, most of them were really attracted to the military as brave people, but, of course, later economic motivation also played a part.
It was a common thing in those days for young army officers to be trained in Sand Hurst and other prominent military institutions, but like you earlier said, after your enlistment you went to the Haile Selassie Military Academy in Ethiopia. Was this by choice?
Well, I didn’t have a choice; it was the Nigerian government that negotiated with the Ethiopian government to that effect. I would like to add that 20 of us were sent there, out of which 10 were for the army military academy while 10 were for the air force and I was one of those 10 sent for air force training. We went through the training, but I was one of those that could not make it through and have a wing to become a pilot. Six of us couldn’t make it while four went through successfully and got their wings. Those of us who couldn’t make it were then sent to the military academy. So I would say it wasn’t my own choice; it just played out like that.
Was there a particular reason why the six of you couldn’t obtain your wings?
I would rather speak for myself alone. In air force training, you do the teacher pilot and when you pass you start what they call solo (flying alone). I went into that, I flew about 15 hours cumulatively. Every day you flew you log in the time. I did up to 15 hours, but on two occasions, when I came back to land, I couldn’t land properly, it was a crash-landing where you landed and veered off into the bush.
The second one also happened like that. When I landed, the control tower told me to clear off the runway because there was a distress call. So in the process of clearing off the runway, I ran into the bush. So they looked at it and after a thorough assessment, they said it didn’t look as if I was cut out for flying because a third attempt might be fatal. So they grounded me and sent me off to the Haile Selassie Academy. At every stage, you were tested and if you failed the test you were disqualified. The other five also went like that because I was one of the last to be grounded. Some of them didn’t even fly solo.
Can you share your experience at the Haile Selassie Academy in Ethiopia?
It was good and exciting. It was also challenging. I went there late because it was six months after they had started the course that I joined. I am not particularly a dull fellow, so when I went there I caught up with the academics. Of the military side, the physical side was also challenging, but in the end I was considered third in the order of merit of our course in a class of over 50.
So in the end, how did the training shape your military career?
That is exactly what it is supposed to do. You are trained to take military leadership at various stages. In the Army you have stages of organisation, called command structure. You have the platoon which is the lowest; a section is not for officers but for other ranks. But for commissioned officers you have the platoon, you have the company, the battalion, brigade, division and so on. So you go through the various stages of command; both giving command and taking command. You go through that type of orientation and other physical stages like cross country. So the training actually shapes you to be an officer, which is why it is called a military academy.
Where were you during the first military coup in Nigeria?
I was in Kaduna as a second lieutenant in 1966, having returned to Nigeria in August the previous year. I joined the engineering section of the military service where I was before the 1966 coup. I was commanding a troop, as it was called in the Engineers while in the infantry it is called a platoon. So I was there in Kaduna. I know the next question would be how did it happen? The long and short is that I took part in that coup because my Officer Commanding organised what was called ‘Exercise Damisa’ and on our own we called it orders. It was that exercise that we were going for, a training exercise in the night. My whole squadron was also part of the exercise. So we went out there in the night where we could do a night (attack) and then occupy strategic places.
That was the instruction and my troop was assigned to seize and protect the then National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in Kaduna. After the night attack in the bush our commanders enumerated the various places called VPs (vital points).
In my own case, I was assigned to defend the Radio station. Within the first night, we did the night attack the Zaria Road, then came to the Radio station, surrounded it and put troops to guard it. The Officer Commanding then came and inspected and said, ‘Okay, stand down’ which means you can now go. That was good. Then the following night… we assembled at 7 pm, went through the same exercise and my O/C came and inspected, but this time he didn’t say,’ stand down.’ He just said, ‘Okay, you will get your stand down orders later.’ The following day I saw one officer named J. C. Ojukwu who came and said the exercise was completed and Major Hassan Katsina was with us and I asked him: ‘What are you talking about?’ That was when I started having an idea that it was a coup. Then our O/C came and said we should stay on our posts and should not allow anybody to come in or go out. That was the second night when I started having the idea that it was a coup. That is why I said I participated in it blindfolded. I wasn’t the only one; all our officers, probably only the Igbo officers knew that it was a coup. In that squadron, we were four that were non-Igbo, every other person was an officer of Igbo extraction. That was how it went.
The then military governor of the East Central State, Anthony Ochefu, was removed months after his appointment and you were posted to replace him. How were you so appointed?
I had no idea. They simply asked me to report to Dodan Barracks, and when I did, I was simply told, ‘You are going to be the military governor of the East Central State. I was surprised and it was Murtala Mohammed, who as head of state, said to me: ‘Look, you are taking a military plane to Enugu tomorrow to takeover.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir!’ I was actually in Ibadan commanding the Engineering Brigade at that time when the signal came that I should report to Dodan Barracks. I reported and General Obasanjo was then the Chief of Staff while Murtala was the Head of State. I reported to Obasanjo who I had earlier worked with, and he said, ‘John, how about becoming governor?’ I said,’ what are you saying, sir?’ Then he said Let’s go and see the C-in-C. We then went to General Murtala’s office and he said, ‘You are going to be the governor of East Central State.’ So when I got to Enugu, I met Colonel Ochefu in the office and he was a very good officer. I went in and saluted him as my senior. He welcomed me and asked me to sit down for briefing. He gave me the briefing and that was how I took over.
Talking about former president Olusegun Obasnjo, how was it like working with him as military head of state?
Not much difference from what was obtainable before Murtala was killed. We were in Dodan Barracks and whenever they wanted something they would invite us or send a letter or signal or instructions. I was in a position to assess him based on what he should be. When he later became head of state after Murtala Mohammed was killed, Colonel Shehu Yar’Adua became the Chief of Staff. As governors, we communicated much more through the Chief of Staff. So, having worked with General Obasanjo earlier in the headquarters of the army engineers, our relationship with him didn’t quite change.
How did you feel taking up your first political appointment as a soldier?
As far as I was concerned, it was a posting. I was assigned a military job to do and the way of doing things in the military wasn’t quite different. I had attended courses which prepared me for all kinds of command. I was then a Lieutenant Colonel when I was appointed military governor of the East Central State and having been on several courses, particularly in the US, I considered my posting to Enugu as a military assignment. The only difference was that instead of having commissioned officers to whom you can issue orders, you now had civilian commissioners. That is the only way you could now adjust your mental acumen to be able to deal with them as civilians. In my first assignment, I had one commissioner that was an ex-soldier. In fact, he was my senior in the army, but when I took over he had retired. So he adjusted very nicely with me and there was not much of a problem even with the other civilians because they also knew that it was no longer business as usual.
When the army handed over to Shagari in 1999 you returned to the barracks. How did you cope with the regimented life there after spending some time in Government House?
I was governor of the East Central State for two and half years before they created Anambra State. In 1978, they simply posted us out and when I went back to the army engineers they sent me to the engineers’ school which was located in Kainji. I went there and took over the command and it was just like coming home. I didn’t find it much difficult. But it was a bit of a challenge because when I went to the school in 1978, I found the soldiers had no place to stay. They were staying in makeshift structures. I happened to also know that after the war the Federal Government appointed army engineers to supervise constructions all over the country, and Makurdi was selected as the base for our school. At that time a decision was taken on contract awards and I knew about it. So I now came to Makurdi and found the barracks completed at the time my soldiers in Kainji were staying in makeshift structures. I asked for financial aid from General TY Danjuma who was the Chief of Army Staff and he gave me. So we moved the school from Kainji to Makurdi and it was very exciting. There was a lot of cooperation with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and every other person.
So when we moved to Makurdi everybody was so excited because of the way they were living in Kainji. Makurdi was solid barracks and it is still there. The soldiers were moved there with their families and their morale went high. So that was what I was doing, commanding the Nigerian Army School of Engineers now in Makurdi until early 1979 when I was posted to Lagos to command the Corps of Engineers, in Victoria Island. After some time, I was posted to the Army Headquarters ‘A’ branch as the director of manning. From there I went to NIPSS in Jos and from there I went back to the Army Headquarters where I remained until the next coup that brought General Buhari to power and I was then posted to Benue as military governor again.
Why were you posted to your home state (Benue) when the practice had been to post officers to states other than theirs?
The policy of posting officers to states other than their own was Murtala Mohammed’s decision. General Muhammadu Buhari changed that and said you were more familiar with your state, so go there. I wasn’t the only one posted to my state, almost all the other governors were from their states. He had also been military governor of Borno State when I was in Enugu. So I was not part of the decision makers. When the coup took place in December of that year, I was here in Makurdi and when I rushed back to Dodan Barracks, I met Tunde Idiagbon who told me that I was posted to Makurdi to take over as governor of Benue State. So I had no choice as a matter of posting. Indeed, so many of us were posted to our own states.
How was it like working with Buhari as military head of state?
Not much of a difference like I earlier said. During the war we were in the same command, so I knew him there and we knew each other well. When he took over as commander-in-chief, I didn’t think there was much of a difference knowing how he worked. My official contact with him was through the chief of staff just as had been the practice. But I knew him well before the coup; he was hard working and a strict disciplinarian. So there wasn’t much of a difference from what I previously knew of him in the Army.
Things became tough at that time as civil servants in the state were being owed salaries for months, coupled with the massive tax drive all over the country. How did you cope as military governor of Benue State?
It suited me quite fine, I would say. As you rightly said, when I reported in January 1984, I found that there were a lot of debts all over the place while people were not paid for months. A lot of things that were happening, which I thought were rather superfluous to our own capability. We were given orders to adjust so that we won’t owe people money, and that was what I did, and by the end of that year, we had cleared all our indebtedness.
Money was not really much at that time because we were not having any federation account. It was what we generated that we used. So we depended on internally generated revenue without expecting anything from outside. Of necessity, therefore, I had to now adjust the size of government expenditure to a level which we could handle. In 1985, I sought permission to obtain a bond of N12 million which was big money at that time. Having cleared all my indebtedness, I wanted to start projects development. So I got that N12 million bond which was still in the making when the military government of General Buhari was toppled by Babangida. That was when I left and when my successor (David Jang) came, he just inherited the money (bond) which I had started the process of acquiring and I am sure it must have helped him a lot.
The times were very difficult and we had a large civil service, including the ones in the local government. A lot of projects which the late Aper Aku had undertaken were good but we had no resources to carry on with them at that time. That was why I reduced, for example, the number of schools, about 22 of them that he had established. They were to take off but I knew that we had no money to support that and it was going to increase our indebtedness. So I stopped those and a lot of other things that for all intents and purposes were started by him with good intentions. It was not possible for us to sustain it financially so I had to reduce that and step up internal revenue drive. I had a director of internal revenue whom I went to his office one day and he had a graph drawn showing improvement in terms of revenue generation and it was really very impressive.
There was a lot of cooperation from the civilians I met there; many of them quite understood that even when I told them, “Sorry you have to go and farm because we cannot pay you.” They did. Many of them when I retired came to thank me for prodding them into farming. I can say I am grateful to God and the people I met because they were quite understanding. As a military man, I gave orders that were not particularly good for them, but they took it.
Governors under Buhari were reporting to Idiagbon, a general Nigerians described as ‘unsmiling’. How did you relate with him?
We were friends with Tunde Idiagbon even before we were in military government. He was a good officer. So I didn’t notice any change in him that is worth mentioning. Of course, no soldier is expected to be smiling with others and that is what we were all supposed to do. To me there was nothing extraordinary about him.
Do you think he was the de facto head of state during the Buhari regime as many perceived him to be?
I don’t think so; he was not a de facto head of state. You have policy making and execution and it is the person executing the policy that attention is focused on. Tunde had to do what he was told to do. In a battalion, for example, you have the battalion commander, then you have those under him but he was the commander and all the actions carried out were done by the adjutant based on the policy decision that had already been taken. If Tunde didn’t do what he was doing he wouldn’t have been a good chief of staff. So he was doing his job.
How did you receive the 1984 coup?
I was in Gboko on my leave when I heard about the coup. I didn’t participate in that one so I simply went back to Lagos. I went to Tunde Idiagbon and asked him: ‘What are you people doing?’ I told him what I have never said to anybody. When I went to his office I said, ‘Tunde what are you people doing? If this coup had failed and I said I was not part of it people would not believe me because of my relationship with all of you.’ We were friends but I had no inkling about that coup at all. I told them, ‘Look you don’t do things like that,‘ because if the coup had failed and they arrested them, I would have been arrested too. Other than that, it came to me the way it did to any other person.
So why do you think you were not involved in that coup?
I was on leave.
You were widely reported, on leaving office, to have said that you were leaving an empty treasury because you met it empty. Can you shed light on this statement?
I am a very frank person and I don’t look for personal praises. As I said earlier, when I came to Benue the government was neck deep in debt. I tried to clear the debt and, of course, I didn’t have enough money, which made me send people away from the civil service. What I had was what I was managing and I didn’t have enough, and like I told you earlier, I had already started the process of having a bond that would help me in doing my work. Then the coup took place and I couldn’t see myself saying I met money, because I didn’t. So I said it quite frankly that I left the treasury empty because I met it empty. But people construed that to mean that I came and emptied the treasury into my pocket. No I didn’t because there was nothing left, and I meant it.
Successive governors of Benue, military and civilian, have been criticised for doing little to provide infrastructure in the state. Why does it seem like Benue is a hard nut to crack in terms of development?
I am not going to generalise the answer; I can only speak for myself. What situations the other governors, military or civilian, went through I cannot comment. But in my own case, I said it already that when I came there was no money and you can’t develop empty handed. You must have the financial back up to do the roads and other development projects expected of government. As I said, I didn’t have enough money, but as I settled down I got the salary issue stabilised. As I said, at that time we had no federation account, which was why I placed that N12 million bond that was being processed with the intention of making some development initiatives, especially the industrial area that I carved out for development. If I had the money, I would have certainly made a lot of difference like I did in Anambra where the projects I completed are still there.
In Anambra, in one year I announced a budget of N85 million and the then Chief of Staff, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, sent for me to come to Lagos. He sat me down and said, ‘This is what you announce how are you going to get money for that?’ The policy was no deficit budgeting, but I sat and explained to him how I was going to get the money. When he was satisfied, he asked me to go. The Igbo man is very hard working; if you commit him to something he does it. Community development is their number one priority as I knew. I must admit that all the efforts I made there were due to their cooperation and commitment to community development. Here in Benue, we didn’t have much and as I said, I cannot speak for other governors.
But the other governors have been receiving subventions…?
I am not in a position to judge them because there are various reasons that may be responsible. I have a feeling that they also intended to do something to leave their legacies, but if they had not done it and they are not doing it, I am not in a position to judge them.
How would you assess the tenure of the current President Muhammadu Buhari so far?
You are now putting me in a tight corner, which I would like to avoid. I don’t want to be judgemental because I don’t have all the facts at my disposal to do a proper assessment of him objectively. But I know General Buhari personally as a very committed and highly disciplined man. He is now in politics; the Buhari I talked about was when he was in the military. Now he is into politics and although I am not a politician, I know what it demands on everybody. Our type of politics in Nigeria, I can only assess with imagination. Demands are various in all forms and shapes on the individual political actors. But General Buhari, as a person, I would say, is a determined person who focuses on what he wants to do. But he alone cannot do it, so I cannot really assess him objectively because I don’t have the facts.
There have been these growing clamours for restructuring across the country. What is your take?
Personally, I think there is need for restructuring, but how it can be done remains the issue. When the British brought us together, we were not in a position to address our zonal problems or issues, linguistic, cultural and so on. Now we can. When Lord Lugard simply merged the protectorates together, he didn’t ask them; there was no referendum, nothing. It was just a colonial decision they took. Therefore, I think it is fair to sit back and look inwardly and see how we would like to interact among ourselves. One thing I think we should avoid is the disintegration of Nigeria. I am hundred per cent against that one. But we can sit at a roundtable and decide and all the groups should express their minds genuinely without conditions, but we should not split or divide the country. Our discussion should be a give-and-take affair, not a matter of compulsion or one group lording it over the other. In a nutshell, I think restructuring is necessary.
How would you assess the fight against insurgency in the country currently?
With my military background, I would say that it ought to be challenged frontally because insurgency is foreign to us. We have lived together and the Biafra episode taught us a lesson. But the type of insurgency now is almost abominable. The Boko Haram and the cattle herders, we have no idea what their real intention is. Boko Haram has come out openly to say they want disintegration and domination or whatever they call it. At the beginning, I thought they were Muslims trying to Islamise Nigeria, but they later started bombing mosques and the whole thing got thrown into confusion. But I would say any form of insurgency ought to be thrashed out of Nigeria. We lived with the Fulani for many years without problems but the type of Fulani that go with weapons today are not the ones we used to know. So this type of Fulani should be taken seriously by government.
Some states, including Benue, have introduced the anti-open grazing law as a way of addressing the farmers/ herders crisis. Do you think this is the best way to go?
Given what I have seen in the last few months, it looks to me that it is the correct approach. It is not particularly acceptable to those who are used to roaming the countryside with their cattle, but in the end, that is the only thing we can do if we want to be a developed country.
So I love what the Benue State Government has come up with to encourage ranching, which is the practice all over the world now. So we really need to shift from roaming with the cattle to ranching in order to take proper care of them because roaming doesn’t even allow for proper education of their children. So the policy of the Benue State Government, which other states are also adopting, is a welcome development.
I know you used to play squash; do you still do that?
No! Like you earlier said, next week I will be 77 years old and squash is a very rigorous game. So I now play lawn tennis and sometimes golf too. But it is no longer safe for me to go bashing around with squash at this age. But I still do a lot of exercise.
Nigerian generals are said to be very rich, especially the retired ones. Did you also amass billions of money while in service?
The long and short answer is that I didn’t. I have my pay slip here. I received my last pay slip in the Army in September 1985 and the take home pay was N1, 500. At that time it was adequate to take care of my needs, and when I retired, there was still strict control of military personnel on matters of handling money, you could hardly embezzle money. If you did, they would send you to prison and retire you. So in our own time, up to 1985 when I left, we had no money. When I was military governor of Anambra, my allowance was about N400 and I couldn’t touch the Government House money. In fact, you had a permanent secretary in Government House who handled everything concerning money; he accounted directly to the accountant-general of the state. If I had to go to Lagos, I had to tell the perm sec and he would prepare everything for me, including my hotel bills. He would then give the money to my ADC who spent it and made returns strictly to the permanent secretary. The same thing for Government House expenses.
So we had no such thing as government having money or diverting security funds. And as I earlier said, in our time, we didn’t have federation account where money would come in billions. So the question of amassing wealth didn’t arise at all. Remember that we introduced the War against Indiscipline (WAI). These billions of a thing started when we left. So my answer is no, I am only hearing that billions are being made by military persons. – Culled from Daily Trust.