On this day, 13th of February in 1976, General Ramat Murtala Muhammed was assassinated on his way to work by some military men who were loyalists of the then Head of the Nigerian Army Physical Training Corps, Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka.
Late General Murtala Muhammed was born on the 8th of November, 1938 in Kano to Risqua Muhammed and Uwani Rahamat. He was the ninth out of 11 children and attended Barewa College in Zaria where he graduated in 1957.
Gen. Murtala joined the Nigerian Army in 1958 at about 20 years of age and went to Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in England where he was trained as an officer cadet. He was also a Federal Minister Commissioner for Communications.
General Murtala took over power as the Military Head of Nigeria on the 29th of July, 1975 when General Yakubu Gowon was overthrown while he was at the 12th summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Kampala, Uganda.
Murtala was notably known for his simple lifestyle which many believed led to his death as he was without escort at the point of his assassination. He was also known to be keen on restructuring. At a point, he reduced the total number of active Nigerian soldiers by 100,000! He approved Abuja as the new Federal Capital Territory on February 5 1976 due to the overcrowding of Lagos, the then Capital. He also created seven states 10 days before his untimely death.
General Murtala Muhammed was the second Head of State to die in power and he hold the record for the second shortest reign by a Head of State/President as he spent 201 days in office.
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