Fallen heroes: When will govt do the needful?

Fallen heroes: When will govt do the needful?

By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

ABU 1The bravery of gallant Nigerian Army officer and men that were recently slain by Boko Haram insurgents has since been a subject of discussion. What a price to pay for peace to reign in one’s fatherland!

Abu-Ali on the battlefield.

Abu-Ali on the battlefield.

There seems no end to the free flow of tears since the death of Lt Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, and six of his troops on November 4.

Nigeria lost Col. ‘Slim’ as he was popularly called by friends,and his men when they were mostly needed. The country and their devastated families lost committed patriots and breadwinners. They have been honourably interned as usual, but the fate of their dependents must not be battered as was always the case. Sergeants Muazu Ibrahim, Bassey Okon, Hussaini Jafaru,Captain Chukwu Hussaini, Private Salisu Lawal, Seaman Patrick Paul’s wives and children ought to be well taken care of by the federal government.


The burial rites for the seven slain soldiers in Abuja.

For Abu-Ali’s father, also a gallant soldier who passed the bravery to his son, this must be a very shattering fate. He must not be saddled with the responsibility of funding the education and welfare of the grandchildren left by Muhammad, even if he could afford it. Same goes for other slain soldiers.  The senior Abu-Ali, a brigadier- general who fought gallantly in the Nigeria civil war, already paid his dues while in the service to his fatherland. He made his mark as Commandant, Armoured Corps Centre and School, Bauchi and also earned honour and respect for himself as he commanded 5 ECOMOG Brigade in Liberia. Muhammad Abu-Ali’s father, was fortunate as he lives to tell his own story.

Faces of anguish! Abu-Ali's wife and daughter at his burial and that of other fallen heroes.

Faces of anguish! Abu-Ali’s wife and daughter at his burial and that of other fallen heroes.

He served as Governor of Bauchi State during the military regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. He is now the Etsu Bassa-nge Kingdom, Gboloko, Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State. Unfortunately, his son, Muhammad left in his prime. His last words were thus quoted: “I don’t think I will make it.I am proud to have diligently carried out my duty, thereby paying the supreme price. I pray that Nigerians remember my sacrifice to the Nation.” There is really no way to remember such heroes than to take adequate care of the family they left behind.

Abu-Ali with his family.

Abu-Ali with his family.

Muhammad Abu-Ali was born on August 15, 1980 in Lagos State. His parents hailed from Kogi State.  He had his early education at Army Children School, Maiduguri. He later attended Command Secondary School, Jos, before joining the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1998 and became a commissioned officer in 2003.On January 25, 2008, he met his choice woman in Kaduna and got married. The union was blessed with three children- Fatima, Amir and Yasmin. Muhammad was popular among his friends, who called him ‘Slim’, probably because of his lean frame, and ‘Sarkin Yaki’ by fellow combatants. He was known as a fearless soldier whose main aim was to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. His men had good memories of his leadership as Commander of the 272 Task Force Battalion. He did his best, according to them and recorded many victories.



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