By Peter Duru & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
MAKURDI—Former Chief of Army Staff under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, Lieutenant General Victor Malu, is dead.
Vanguard gathered from a family source and cousin of the retired army chief, Mr, Bem Adoor, that General Malu died yesterday morning in an Egyptian hospital in Cairo where he had gone on routine medical check up.
According to Adoor, “he travelled to Egypt about two weeks ago for check up but unfortunately he did not make it back. He died this (yesterday) morning, he was 70 years.”
Malu, who battled with stroke and diabetics before his death, was born on January 15,1947, in Katsina-Ala, Local Government Area of Benue State.
Malu was appointed Chief of Army Staff in May 1999 at the start of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration and was removed in April 2001.
He was also commander of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, peace-keeping force, ECOMOG, from December 1996 to April 1998 during the first Liberian civil war.
The former Army chief also chaired the military tribunal that tried former Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya, in 1998 over alleged coup plot against the then late Head of State, General Sanni Abacha.
Malu enrolled in the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, in 1967 as part of the 3rd Regular Course and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant enlisted upon graduation in 1970.
Buhari mourns Malu
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Malu family as well as the government and people of Benue State.
President Buhari in a statement signed by his Special Adviser Mr. Femi Adesina, also commiserated with the Nigerian Armed Forces on the demise of a very distinguished and professional colleague, who he said demonstrated incredible courage and leadership, including during very turbulent times in Liberia.
President Buhari in the statement recalled that as Force Commander of the ECOMOG peace-keeping troops in Liberia from 1996 to 1998, General Malu was “an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline, and he aptly demonstrated these attributes throughout his national and international military assignments.”
The President was of the belief that the late Malu will be fondly remembered for his dedication and commitment as a military officer; and his numerous landmark contributions to Nigeria’s unity and development.
He urged the bereaved family, friends and associates to honour Malu’s memory by upholding his invaluable sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria.
He also prayed that Almighty God will comfort all who mourn Gen Malu, and grant his soul perfect peace.
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress, APC, has condoled with the immediate family, Nigerian Army and the government and people of Benue State over the painful loss.
According to the party, Nigeria has indeed lost one of its finest military officers, who distinguished himself and made the country proud in several local and international assignments he undertook during his illustrious military career.
The APC recalls the distinguished service of the late Malu as Force Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, ECOMOG, peace-keeping force in Liberia from 1996 to 1998.
It said: “His impressive performance earned him commendations from both Liberians and international observers over improvements that followed his taking command.
“In the course of the late Malu’s eventful tenure as the country’s Chief of Army Staff from 1999 to 2001, he doggedly canvassed and undertook reforms aimed at establishing a truly national army with a deep sense of purpose.!
The party prays the Almighty God to grant the late Malu eternal rest and the family the strength to bear the loss.