Mamman Jiya Vatsa

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Mamman Jiya Vatsa
Minister of Abuja FCT
In office
1984 – December 1985
Preceded by Haliru Dantoro
Succeeded by Hamza Abdullahi
Personal details
Born 3 December 1940
Died 5 March 1986

Mamman Jiya Vatsa (3 December 1940 – 5 March 1986) was a Nigerian soldier and writer. He was a Major-General in the Nigerian army, Minister of the Federal Capital Abuja, and a member of the Supreme Military Council. He was executed by the Nigerian Government of Major General Ibrahim Babangida on 5 March 1986 following accusations of his involvement in an abortive coup.

Vatsa was also an accomplished poet and writer, publishing eight poetry collections for adults and eleven for children, with titles such as Back Again at Wargate (1982), Reach for the Skies (1984) and Verses for Nigerian State Capitals (1973). His books are about ordinary people's lives and simple creatures, including the pidgin collection Tori for Geti Bow Leg (1981), his cultural picture book in Hausa, Bikin Suna, and a charming picture storybook entitled Stinger the Scorpion (1979).

Vatsa was a facilitator and patron of the arts in Nigeria, where he organized writing workshops for his fellow soldiers and their children and got their works published. He helped the Children's Literature Association of Nigeria with funds, built a Writers' Village for the Association of Nigerian Authors, and hosted their annual conferences.

The Writers' Village finally became a reality on the 24th of January, 2012, when the National Executive of the Association, led by the President, Prof. Remi Raji, performed a groundbreaking ceremony at the site. The Village has been named in Gen. Vatsa's honour.[1]

Participation in the Nigerian Counter Coup of July 1966[edit]

Vatsa, then a Lieutenant with the 4th Battalion in Ibadan, was one of the many officers of northern Nigerian origin, who staged (and were led by Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Muhammed in) what became known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 because of grievances[2] they felt towards the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi's government which quelled the January 15, 1966 coup. Other participants in the coup included 2nd Lieutenant Sanni Abacha, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako, and Lieutenant Buka Suka Dimka among others.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Verses for Nigerian State Capitals (poetry), 1973.
  • Stinger the Scorpion - 1979.
  • Tori for Geti Bow Leg and Other Pidgin Poems (1981), Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria: Cross Continent Press, 1985; illus. Ade J. Adeyanju.
  • Bikin Suna
  • Back Again at Wargate (poetry) 1982.
  • Reach for the Skies (poetry) 1984.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966 - 1976). Algora. p. 97. ISBN 9780875867090. 

External links[edit]