'Crate man' goes home to Nigeria

THE MAN who was kidnapped in a London street and put in a crate to be flown to Nigeria ten years ago finally went home on Sunday - care of KLM First Class. Alhaji Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian minister of transport, was welcomed back to Nigeria that night, invited back by its military rulers, the very men who once arranged his kidnapping. The military government of Sanni Abacha which seized power last year, has nominated him as a member of the body which is supposed to return the country to democracy.

In 1984, Mr Dikko was found drugged and chained in a crate at Stansted Airport by customs officers after three Israeli agents and a Nigerian major had clumsily kidnapped him outside his home in Porchester Terrace.

His kidnapping led to a rift in Anglo-Nigerian relations and gave rise to a generation of 'It's a crate way to travel' jokes. But the best joke was played by the Nigerians as Britain's anti-terrorist squad searched for the mastermind of the plot. The Nigerians smuggled him out of the country on a Nigerian Airways plane - in a crate.

Mr Dikko's return is one of the most remarkable examples of Nigeria's Byzantine politics. After its failure to kidnap him and put him on trial, the military tried to extradite him. The military regime which overthrew the last civilian government claimed in extradition papers that he had amassed pounds 3.5bn during his time as minister of transport. Yesterday he was welcomed by the members of the new nominated constituent assembly in Abuja - a meeting the winners of last year's annulled election have denounced as a farce.

Mr Dikko always maintained that he had arrived in Britain penniless and relied only on donations from friends. He claimed the large house in a fashionable part of Bayswater was not his, but he sent his children to public schools and made frequent trips to the United States.

He applied for political asylum in Britain and the Foreign Office, caught between its lucrative trade with Nigeria and its stand on terrorism, fudged the issue by allowing him to stay in Britain indefinitely but without any particular status. The extradition proceedings lapsed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas