On 21 December, 1997, Lt. General Victor Malu was appointed head of the Special Military Tribunal, commissioned by then head of state, General Sani Abacha, to try alleged coup plotters, among them the regime’s second-in-command, Lt. General Oladipupo Diya.
The other officers so indicted were Majors General Taudeen Olanrewaju and Abdulkarim Adisa, who, until then, were ministers in the regime. Also, were Daniel Akintonde, Edwin Jando, Peters Alinyode, Emmanuel Shode, Major Olusegun Fadipe, and Diya’s political advisor, professor Femi Odekunle.
The tribunal began sitting in February 1998 and after a couple of weeks concluded its assignment. Late Malu had lapped up the attention the tribunal grossed in Nigeria and beyond. The time to deliver the verdict came, and Malu, alongside six other tribunal members, sentenced six army officers, including Diya, and a civilian to death by firing squad. Four of the indicted persons were sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining three to stand 2–14 years behind bar.
Born on 15 January 1947 at Katsina-Ala, Benue State of Tiv origin. The late Malu enrolled in the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kadunain 1967 as part of the 3rd Regular Course and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant enlisted upon graduation in 1970.