By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, AGBO-PAUL AUGUSTINE and Andrew Essien, Abuja and HEMBADOON ORSAR, Makurdi –
Former Chief of Army Staff under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, Lt Gen. Victor Malu (rtd), is dead. He died in the early hours of yesterday at Cairo hospital in Egypt.
Malu who passed on at the age of 70 was said to have travelled to Cairo two weeks ago for medical check up.
His cousin, Bem Adoor, confirmed the death to LEADERSHIP in a telephone interview in Makurdi.
Malu was born in January 15, 1947 in Adoor village in Katsina Ala local government area of Benue State.
He enrolled into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna in 1967 as part of the 3rd regular course and was commissioned second Lieutenant in 1970.
He chaired the military tribunal that tried Gen. Oladipo Diya in 1998 over alleged coup plot against the then head of state, Gen. Sanni Abacha.
Malu was also a former commander of ECOMOG Peace Keeping force in Sierra Leone and Liberia from August 1996 to January 1998.
He served as Chief of Army Staff from May 1999 to April 2001 before the same government removed him.
PMB Mourns, Says He Was A Distinguished Colleague
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, has extended heartfelt condolences to the Malu family as well as the government and people of Benue State on the death of Lt. General Victor Malu (rtd), saying the former Chief of Army Staff was a distinguished and professional colleague.
In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the president also commiserated with the Nigerian Armed Forces on the demise of the retired general.
Describing him as a very distinguished and professional colleague who demonstrated incredible courage and leadership, including during very turbulent times in Liberia, President Buhari 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.
According to the president, Malu aptly demonstrated these attributes throughout his national and international military assignments.
Adesina said, “The President believes that the late General 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.
“President Buhari urges the bereaved family, friends and associates to honour Malu’s memory by upholding his invaluable sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria.
“The President prays that Almighty God will comfort all who mourn Gen Malu, and grant his soul perfect peace”.
He Was A Gallant Soldier- Mark
Also, former Senate president, Senator David Mark, yesterday expressed grief over the demise of former Chief of Army Staff, General Victor Malu (rtd), describing him as a gallant soldier.
Reacting to the death of the former Army chief of, Senator Mark said, “I have lost a reliable brother, dependable friend, colleague and comrade. Malu was a soldiers’ soldier. He was frank and truly called a spade its rightful name no matter whose Ox was gored.
“Unarguably, the nation has lost one of her best and fertile minds in the Armed forces. We shall sorely miss him”.
Senator Mark recalled when he was Malu’s classmate at the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), 3rd Regular Course, Kaduna between 1967 and 1970, saying Malu was a patriot.
Only last month, the NDA 3rd Regular Course marked its 50th anniversary in Kaduna, during which Malu and his classmates were honoured as worthy ambassadors of the Academy.
Senator Mark recalled their years in the military and submitted that a great polymath has fallen.
He stated: “ General Malu was a brilliant and courageous officer. He stood to be counted when it mattered. His contributions to the improvement of the Armed forces are worthy of note. We shall miss this great man, officer and gentleman”.
He prayed God, in His infinite mercies, to grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss
Nigeria Has Lost One Of Its Finest – APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday joined other notable Nigerians in mourning over the death of General Victor Malu (rtd), describing his demise as a loss of one of Nigeria’s finest military officer.
In a statement signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, APC recalled his contribution to strengthening and reforming the Nigerian army.
The statement reads in part: “A recipient of the Force Service Star (FSS) Award, Meritorious Service Star (MSS) Award, Distinguished Service Star (DSS) Award, among others, 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 fondly 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. 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 condoles with the immediate family, the Nigerian Army and the government and people of Benue state over the painful loss. We pray the Almighty God grant the late Malu eternal rest and the family the strength to bear the loss”.