In past years, Adama was not the woman next door as she wielded some influence of her own. Col. Usman Kakanda Bello, her slain husband, was President Ibrahim Babangida’s ADC who wielded power around the seat of government between 1985 and 1990. UK Bello, as he was popularly known, was courage and valour personified and in April, 1990, he displayed these qualities when he took on coup plotters, Gideon Orkar and his men. On that day, the coup plotters had stormed Dodan Barracks, Lagos, Nigeria’s seat of power at that time and UK Bello, first of all, evacuated military president, Ibrahim Babangida before going back to dislodge them but lost his life in the process.
However, after UK’s demise, Hajiya Adama’s travails began. According to Adama, Aminu and Abbas Bello, her husband’s brothers, shared UK’s benefits amongst Zainab, the other wife and the children, excluding her. She told Weekly Trust that Bashir, her only son, got a token. Thereafter, in line with Islamic tenets, UK’s assets were also shared out and again, Adama was left out. Calmly and instead of litigation, she took things in her stride, picked up the pieces and carried on with life, buying and selling textile materials. However, contracts were off limits; while trading, according to her, sustained her and “I was okay” until three years ago.
She told Weekly Trust that in 2006, after an afternoon nap, she couldn’t get up as “I just felt hooked to the bed.” Thereafter, “from the waist down, I couldn’t move and that was it”, she said with a sigh. She said she was immediately rushed to Shika where Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital is currently located. Tests, series of treatment a cocktail of drugs, including physiotherapy followed, but without results. Expectedly, her business suffered, bills kept mounting and her savings started dwindling, making friends and family members to pool resources, but the illness festered.
Continuing her narration, she said the doctors couldn’t diagnose her ailment for two and a half years and in desperation, she sought unorthodox means but her efforts came to naught. Consequently, limited by resources, she resigned to fate and stayed at home but Brigadier-General Haliru Akilu, the former military sleuth, rescued her with cash. Replenished, Adama went back to the hospital, did an MIR test and obtained the results but nothing showed, heightening her frustration. Amina Farouk, a childhood friend, came from England, gave her money and persuaded her to undergo another MIR test. This time, the test was revealing. Adama, according to the result, suffers from lumbar sponddilosis and degenerative bone disease.
For proper treatment, she was referred to Cairo, but she couldn’t afford the $18,000 hospital fee. The amount, according to her, excludes feeding and accommodation as well as air tickets for two people. She said at this point, she had reached a financial dead-end as trying to get the money seemed a Herculean task. Narrating further, she said she returned home, resorted to prayers and waited for a miracle. A friend of hers named Waheeda, convinced her after much persuasion to go to Babangida and they headed for the Hill Top mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital. According to her, when they got to the gate, one retired captain warmly received and heard them out. After their narration, he collected the medical results and cost of treatment in Cairo before saying IBB was not around. “He has been dribbling me, and in the last nine months, I have not heard from him”
Thereafter, the retired captain became elusive and whenever she phoned, he’d reel out the usual excuses – Babangida has travelled, he is very busy or he is out of the country. Then, through Major General Saleh Maina, the General Officer Commanding, 3rd Division, Adama sought another route to IBB but it ended in a cul-de-sac. General Maina by his own account spoke one-on-one with IBB and after the meeting, the GOC sought out Adama’s doctor, but the rendezvous is yet to bear fruits. Dejected, Adama took solace in friends and family members and by two weeks ago when Weekly Trust visited her Tudun Wada family house, a few people were seen nursing her. She mentioned Zainab, Waheeda and Katherine, as well as Salina and Amina as her friends in need. Through thick and thin, according to Adama, they’ve stuck to her and throughout the interview, she showered praises on them.
Born in Lagos, Hajiya Adama’s father worked with EMI, a music recording company. However, the family moved to Kaduna and young Adama enrolled at Queen Amina College, finishing in 1983. Adama who was fresh from school fell in love with UK Bello and in no time, they tied the nuptial knots. UK at that time was a Major and Commanding Officer of 241 Recce Battalion, Kaduna. Before her, UK was married to Zainab who has two kids, Hamidu and Habiba, for him. Earlier, he had married and divorced Madinah, but the marriage begot Aisha. Also, between Adama and UK, they have Bashir, a 21-year-old who is about to graduate from the university.
Adama told Weekly Trust that upon her husband’s demise, she returned to England to further her studies but the attempt was short-lived. Keeping body and soul together took precedence and she abandoned her computer studies for trading. Again, she had to abandon the trading due to ill-health and in this hour of need, she seems abandoned to fate while waiting for the Good Samaritan who will pull her up.
But when contacted in Minna, the families of UK Bello through Abbas Bello, brother of late UK Bello dismissed the allegation that the family has abandoned Adama, saying that the family was not aware of any move by Adama to channel her complaints to IBB.
He disclosed that his elder brother had divorced Adama many years before he became the aide–de-camp to General Babangida.
He explained that the wife of his late brother had re-married long ago after divorcing his brother, saying the issue of friends of his brother neglecting her does not arise since most people understand that she is married to someone else.
Debunking claims of negligence levelled against friends of the late U.K Bello including the former head of state, Abbas Bello said IBB has been taking care of the school fees of the kids of late UK Bello from primary to university level.
“On the issue of negligence by the former Head of State, that is not true as they have have never met physically and the issue of her health has never been brought to his knowledge.
“To the contrary, IBB has been footing the school fees of her son who is about to complete his university education at Igbinedion University, Okada in Edo State,” he said.