The remains of Brigadier-general Benjamin Adesanya Adekunle, who died on Saturday, September 13, at age 78, were buried Friday in Lagos. A lying-in-state and burial services took place at Tafawa Balewa Square, Race Course, in the morning hours. Later, mourners took the body to the Ikoyi Vault for burial.
The last journey of the man nicknamed “Black Scorpion” during the Nigeria-Biafra war started Thursday with lying-in-state at Abatti Barracks, Yaba. A service of songs followed in the evening during which relations, friends and admirers showered praises on him.
Outside the barracks, however, other people listening to the news on radio and TV cast aspersions on him. Both in life and in death, Gen. Adekunle was hated by some Nigerians but loved by others. He was nicknamed “Black Scorpion” by those who fought on the Nigerian side during the civil war but regarded as a scoundrel or war criminal by mainly people from the south-east and south-south that were once Biafrans. The divide is so sharp that some members of the House of Representatives from the south-east and south-south refused to observe a minute’s silence in his honour on the floor of the House.
His family members and some opinion writers have described him as a warrior who was not rewarded by his country. He died in relative poverty, when compared with his colleagues in the army such as generals TY Danjuma, Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon and Ibrahim Babangida.
Gen. Adekunle lived as long as Biafran leader Emeka Ojukwu, Obafemi Awolowo and Umaru Dikko.