This is the Biography of Major General Iliya D. Bisalla, also known as ID Bisalla, the 1976 Coup Plotter who alongside Lieutenant Colonel Buka Suka Dimka and others, planned and executed the then head of state, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed.
Under the military rule of General Murtala Muhammed, General Bisalla was Commissioner of Defence (a title now known as Minister of Defence). He attended courses at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England. After returning from England, he was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1st Infantry Division of the Nigerian Army between September 1969 to December 1973.
He was also Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna. It was after all these that he became Commissioner for Defence in Murtala’s regime.
In the aftermath of the 1976 military coup that took the life of General Murtala Muhammed, which brutally ended his reign as Head of State of Nigeria, General Bisalla was implicated by Lt. Colonel Suka Buka Dimka’s confessional statements after investigations into the abortive February 13, 1976 Dimka led coup.
Dimka was seized by the military and his confessional statement implicated General Bisalla, who was in turn convicted controversially. His conviction is said to be controversial because his role in the assassination of Murtala is not clear. On the one hand, the Federal Military Government (FMG) asserted that Bisalla gave Dimka operational orders while Dimka, on the other hand, under interrogation, stated that another officer (Major Rabo) provide the operational orders) that gunned down Murtala.
General Bisalla was however convicted of conspiracy and concealment of treason following Dimka’s confessional statement by the Special Military Tribunal.
General Bisalla along with 31 other alleged co-conspirators some clearly guilty (such as Colonel Dimka and Lt. William Seri) and others whose guilt remain questionable (such as Joseph Gomwalk) were executed by firing squad on March 11, 1976