BABATUNDE ELEGBEDE, The Nigerian Admiral Killed With Over 70 Bullets

July 24, 2019

Vice-Admiral Muftau Adegoke Babatunde Elegbede

Vice Admiral Muftau Adegoke Babatunde Elegbede was the Military Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria between July 1975 and October 1978 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. He was a member of Babangida’s Armed Forces Ruling Council from 1983 to 1993. From 1983 to 1993, Elegbede was also a member of IBB’s Armed Forces Ruling Council. From July 1986 to January 1990, Elegbede was the Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency.


Elegbede was born in Ibadan in Oyo State on the 13th of August, 1942.
Elegbede was the first Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency.

Elegbede was the first Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency.


He attended the Methodist Boys’ High School in Lagos from 1956 – 1961 and on the 24th of February, 1962, he joined the Nigerian Navy.


Captain of the Naval College, 1980 – 1983
Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet, 1983
Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, 1984 – 1985
Flag Officer Command, Sea Training Command, circa 1987

When he was a Navy Captain, he was appointed the military governor of Cross River State, he was in the post from July 1978 to September 1979 when he handed over to Clement Isong (the man on the N1,000 note). During Elegbede’s tenure as Cross River governor, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria was established at Oron (now in today’s Akwa Ibom State).
The deputy director of the Nigerian Defence Intelligence Agency, Chinese Defence Adviser and Rear Admiral Elegbede.

The deputy director of the Nigerian Defence Intelligence Agency, Chinese Defence Adviser and Rear Admiral Elegbede.

When General Muhammadu Buhari came to power in December 1983, Elegbede was made the Chairman of the Kaduna Zone military tribunal which was handling the case of public officers accused of corruption and embezzlement of funds. He would later become a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, AFRC during the Ibrahim Babangida regime and the Director of the Directorate of Military Intelligence and head of administration, Defence Headquarters under the same General Babangida.


In 1979, Elegbede was in charge of a scholarship programme in which thousands benefitted.
Elegbede took part in some sessions of the very lengthy United Nations Conference which came up with the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Elegbede was the first Nigerian hydrographer in the Navy.
Elegbede was known as an outspoken man who valued merit a lot. 
Femi Aribisala, in an article in Vanguard had this to say about him: In 1992, a Nigerian Air Force C-130 transport plane crashed in Ejigbo near Lagos, killing all 200 passengers including top military officers.  A government-sponsored memorial service, coordinated by Vice-Admiral Babatunde Elegbede, was organised in Abuja, and the widows of the dead were specially invited.  However, instead of spending the budgeted money on the widows, it was pocketed.  Instead of housing them in hotels in Abuja, they were dumped en masse and made to spend the night in an airport hangar.  While there, they cursed Admiral Elegbede with one voice and prayed that he should come to a bad end. In June 1994, Admiral Elegbede was assassinated by unknown gunmen.  Over 70 bullets were pumped into his body.  His assailants have never been found.


The brutal assassination of Admiral Elegbede remains one of the most mysterious deaths in the country. His killing remains an unresolved murder leading to an array of various conspiracy theories as to the precise motive behind his cold-blooded murder. On the 19th of June 1994 along the Gbagada-Oworonshoki Expressway in Lagos, Elegbede’s Mercedes Benz V-Boot was attacked by assassins (some reports say armed robbers) and he was hit by more than 70 automatic rifle bullets right in front of his devastated wife.


Sub-Saharan Africa Report, Issues 2107-2113, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, 1979.
Nigeria Newsletter, Issues 180-204, International Communications, 1986.

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