Buka Suka Dimka

Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka (Died 15 May 1976[1]) was a Nigerian Army officer who played a leading role in the 13 February 1976 abortive military coup against the government of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. Dimka also participated in the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 which toppled the government of General Aguiyi Ironsi.


Bukar Suka Dimka was commissioned as a Second-Lieutenant from the Australian Army Officer Cadet School, Portsea, into the Nigerian Army on 13 December 1963. He and another officer (Lt. Boniface Ikejiofor ) were the first two Nigerian Army officers to train in Australia and successfully complete the 12 months course at the school with cadets from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands.[2]

Participation in the Nigerian counter coup of July 1966Edit

Dimka, then a lieutenant with the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna, was one of the many officers of northern Nigerian origin including Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed (coup leader whom Dimka conspired against and murdered ten years later), 2nd Lieutenant Sani Abacha, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako, Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida, and Major Theophilus Danjuma among others), staged what became known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 because of grievances[3] they felt towards the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi's government which quelled the 15 January 1966 coup. Dimka along with Lieutenant Dambo are alleged to have shot and killed Lieutenant Colonel Michael Okoro, Commander of the 3rd Battalion during the July mutiny.[4] Another act of notoriety from the July mutiny was Dimka's pursuit and probable intent to murder his Brigade Major (Samuel Ogbemudia). Before the mutiny, Major Ogbemudia had detained Lieutenant Dimka for violating an order forbidding unauthorized troop movement. Under interrogation by Ogbemudia, Dimka complained of ethnic victimization and was subsequently released by Ogbemudia.[5] Vexed by Ogbemudia's treatment of him, Dimka hatched a plot to kill Major Ogbemudia. Fortunately, Ogbemudia was tipped off by Major Abba Kyari and Colonel Hassan Katsina who provided an escape Landrover armed with an SMG gun. Dimka marshaled a group of northern soldiers who pursued Ogbemudia (sometimes shooting) all the way from Kaduna to Owo, Ondo State where Ogbemudia abandoned his Landrover (which had run out of fuel) and scaled a 6-foot fence into a dense jungle to escape Dimka and his soldiers.[4]

Participation in the 13 February 1976 CoupEdit

General Mohammed was assassinated along with his aide-de-camp Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa when his Mercedes-Benz was ambushed by a group of assassins consisting of Lieutenant Colonel Dimka, Major Rabo, Captain Parwang and Lieutenant Seri in Ikoyi, Lagos.[6] In a planned broadcast to the nation, Lieutenant Colonel Dimka had cited corruption, indecision, arrest and detention without trial, weakness on the part of the Head of State and maladministration in general as the reasons for overthrowing the government. The coup was crushed several hours later by forces loyal to the government and Dimka fled to the premises of Radio Nigeria at Ikoyi where he had made a broadcast to the nation. He was eventually arrested in the company of a prostitute in Eastern Nigeria. Following a court martial, Lieutenant Colonel Dimka and another 38 military officers and civilians were executed by firing squad. The former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (who had been overthrown by General Mohammed in July 1975), was implicated in the abortive coup (by Dimka's testimony). The British Government refused to extradite Gowon. Years later Gowon was granted an official pardon by civilian president Shehu Shagari and his rank (General) and other benefits were fully restored in 1987 by General Ibrahim Babangida.[7] General Murtala Mohammed was succeeded by Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo.


Lieutenant Colonel Dimka was publicly executed on 15 May 1976[1] at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison in Lagos.[8]


  1. ^ a b "1976: Lt. Col. Bukar Dimka and six coup confederates". Executed Today. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  2. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora. pp. 200–201. ISBN 9780875867090. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  3. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966 - 1976). Algora. p. 97. ISBN 9780875867090.
  4. ^ a b Omoigui, Nowa. "Operation Aure (3)". Gamji. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  5. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora. p. 114. ISBN 9780875867090.
  6. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966 - 1976). Algora. p. 193. ISBN 9780875867090.
  7. ^ Ihonvbere, Julius. Illusions of Power: Nigeria in Transition. Africa World Press. ISBN 9780865436428.
  8. ^ Famoroti, Francis. "How Dimka, co-plotters were tried, executed for treason". National Mirror. Retrieved 5 January 2015.