The untold story of umaro Dikko his foiled kidnap + photo of the crate they carried him in .

The Dikko affair was a joint
Nigerian-Israeli attempt to kidnap Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian
civilian government minister living in the United Kingdom, in 1984, and
secretly transport him back to Nigeria in a diplomatic bag. The
kidnapping took place, but the transportation was unsuccessful. After it
was foiled, the political fallout seriously damaged relations between
Nigeria and the United Kingdom for years.

Dikko was an
influential Transport Minister in the civilian administration of
President Shehu Shagari,[1] his brother-in-law. In 1983, the Nigerian
government was overthrown in a military coup led by Major-General
Muhammadu Buhari, and a new military government led by Buhari was
established. On his second day in power, Buhari issued a list of former
government officials accused of a variety of crimes. Dikko, who topped
the list, was accused of embezzling several billion dollars (sources
claim that the amount was around 6 billion US dollars) in oil profits
from the national treasury. Despite strenuous efforts to locate him,
Dikko vanished without trace. In actual fact, Dikko moved to Britain and
settled in London, and became a vocal critic of the regime in exile.

Though
Israel, at the time, did not have formal diplomatic relations with
Nigeria, there were less visible ties between the two nations. In
particular, Nigeria was an important source of oil for Israel, and
Israel was a significant supplier of arms to Nigeria. The Israeli
national intelligence agency Mossad was recruited to locate and bring
Dikko back to Nigeria to stand trial.[2]

The kidnapping
Mossad
sources across Europe were mobilized, but all failed to locate any
trace of Dikko. However, Mossad Director-General Nahum Admoni decided
that Dikko was probably in London, which had become a haven for Nigerian
exiles critical of the new regime. Mossad katsas, accompanied by
Nigerian security service agents led by ex-Nigerian Army Major Mohammed
Yusufu, traveled to London. The Nigerian team rented an apartment on
Cromwell Road and posed as refugees from the new regime. The Mossad
agents rented rooms in hotels catering to tourists from Africa, and
posed as anti-apartheid activists. Working separately, the two teams
moved among the Nigerian expat community in London, gradually narrowing
their search to West London, to the area around Hyde Park, where many
wealthy Nigerian exiles lived. They combed the electoral registers
freely available in the area’s town halls, but found no trace of Dikko.

On
30 June 1984, a Mossad agent driving down Queensway spotted
Dikko[citation needed]. He parked his car and then tailed Dikko on foot
to his house in Porchester Terrace. Admoni was immediately informed, and
ordered surveillance on the house. From then on, the house was
constantly watched, while the Nigerians, using their London embassy as a
base, prepared a kidnapping operation. Meanwhile, the Mossad recruited
Dr. Levi-Arie Shapiro, an Israeli doctor who was a consultant
anesthetist and director of the intensive care unit at HaSharon
Hospital, to fly to London and participate in the operation. Shapiro’s
job would be to drug Dikko, and insert an endotracheal tube to keep him
from choking on his own vomit whilst being transported in a crate.[3]

Late
in the evening of 3 July 1984, a Nigeria Airways Boeing 707 arrived at
Stansted Airport from Lagos. The aircraft had arrived empty, and the
pilot notified the authorities that the plane had arrived to pick up
diplomatic baggage from the Nigerian embassy. On board were several
Nigerian security guards, who openly identified themselves as such and
stated that they were there to protect the baggage. Their presence was
reported to Scotland Yard’s Special Branch. The following day, Dikko was
kidnapped in front of his home while he was out for a walk and taken
away in a van driven by Yusufu. He was then drugged into unconsciousness
by Shapiro.[4] However, the abduction was witnessed by Dikko’s
secretary, Elizabeth Hayes, who quickly notified the authorities.[4][5]

Dikko
and Shapiro were placed in one crate (dimensions 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.5
meters), while Mossad agents Alexander Barak and Felix Abithol occupied a
second.[4] However, proper documentation that would have ensured that
the cargo could not be inspected was not provided.[5] The crates were
also not labeled as diplomatic bags, as required by Article 27(4) of the
1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[6] As a result, customs
officials who had received an all-points bulletin alerting them to the
kidnapping while the crates were being processed at the airport,[7] were
able to open the crates without violating the convention and foil the
kidnapping. Dikko was taken to a hospital; he was uninjured.

Seventeen
men were arrested;[6] four were convicted and sentenced to prison terms
of 10 to 14 years: Shapiro, Barak, Abithol, and Yusufu.[8] All four
were released after serving between six and eight and a half years, and
were quietly deported. In retaliation, two British engineers in Nigeria
were arrested and given fourteen-year prison sentences.[8]

Repercussions

The
Nigerian and Israeli governments never admitted any connection to the
incident. Nonetheless, the British government immediately expelled two
members of the Nigerian High Commission in London, including the High
Commissioner. Diplomatic relations with Nigeria were broken off for two
years. The CEO of Nigeria Airways was at one point almost arrested by
British police. In the aftermath of the affair, Nigeria filed a formal
extradition request for Dikko, but it was refused. The Nigerian
governments war against the previous government’s corruption was also
weakened, as the British governments also rejected Nigerian requests to
extradite other politicians wanted in Nigeria on corruption charges and
living in exile in Britain.[9]

Dikko was eventually asked to return to Nigeria. He accepted the invitation and set up a political party.

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