Saturday last week Mbajima in Katsina-Ala Local Government of Benue state witnessed influx of visitors, as the remains of the former Chief of Army Staff, late Lt. Gen. Victor Malu were laid to rest in the Tse-Adoor family compound.
The occasion was attended by several dignitaries, including Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, former governors of the Benue state, George Akume and Gabriel Suswan, Chairman Senate Committee on Defence, Jerimiah Useni, and members of Course 3 of the Nigerian Defence Academy, as well as Katsina-Ala Old Boys Associations, where the late Malu was a member.
Intelligent, dependable and loyal officer
In his tribute, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen, Tukur Buratai said the late Malu was a “professional soldier, articulate, dedicated and a loyal military officer.”
Buratai also narrated how a former Chief of Army, Lt. Gen. Alwali Kazir (rtd) described the late Malu as a “highly intelligent officers, with an analytical mind.” He added that he (late Malu) was a GOC that led troops even in very difficult situation.
He said this was evident as he (late Malu) commanded and personally led troops that recaptured Monrovia, capital of Liberia, during “Operation Octopus”.
Buratai also revealed how a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar described the late Malu, when he (late Malu) served as his deputy at the Nigerian War College. He said the former Head of State described late Malu as “a dependable and loyal office who works tirelessly to give results.”
Buratai said in another instance, Gen. Abdulsalami also described the late Malu as a “reliable officer who is dependable, and pour his heart into his job.”
Buratai described his late boss as a” forthright man with a remarkable personality.”
Loved by his people
Rev. Terseer Shagba of NKST church was frank in his tribute to the late former Army Chief. “ He never looted treasury, but committed to service. He was loved by his people not by force nor because of his wealth, but because of his selfless service to them. He lived for his people.
He described late Malu as a personality preceded him. “A man who is always frank and loyal to his principal,” he said. “A man that will continue to be a role for generations unborn,” he said.
Resolute, courageous and disciplinarian
Members of Regular Course 3 of the Nigerian Defence Academy where the late Malu ones belonged also paid their tribute there course mate.
Maj. Gen. Chris Garba (retd) who spoke on behalf of the group said he first met the late former COAS at Katsina-Ala when they both played football for their respective schools; and they met again at the NDA in 1967 and continue with their friendship.
He described the late Malu as “brave, resolute, courageous and disciplinarian.”
Late Malu was the third Chief of Army Staff produced by the Katsina-Ala College. The first was Joe Akaaran, and the second is Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma (rtd).
The liberator of Liberia
Sen. Jewish Useni, Chairman Senate Committee on Defence led other members of the National Assembly to the event and presented their tribute.
He described late Malu as an “efficient officer”, who is always frank.
“If not for him Charles Taylor will still have been in Liberia up till now,” Useni said.
He fought and conquered
Governor of Venue state, Samuel Orton said the state would immortalise late Malu. He said he had already consulted the State House of Assembly to do something that will make late Malu to be remembered.
“Late Malu was a great man; even in his death he is still adding value to life,” Ortom said. “This village and the adjoining villages are enjoying electricity today because of him. His family will definitely reap the rewards of the good work of this great man.”
Late Gen. Malu was born on 15th January 1947 at Tse-Adoor village, Mbajima, Tongov in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
He began his primary education at the Native Authority primary School Sanders and the Native Authority Senior Primary School Vandekiya from 1955 to 1961.
He proceeded to Benue Provincial Government College, Katsina-Ala in 1962. He was described as a “keen sportsman” and a Captain of the school’s football team.
He bagged the West African School Certificate in 1966.
He was enlisted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the Regular Course 3. At the academy he was a course mate to distinguished officer such as the former Senate President, Brig. Gen. David Mark (rtd), Brig. Gen. Tunde Ogbeha (rtd), Maj. Gen. Chris Garba (rtd) , Maj.Gen. Alwali Kazir, late Maj.Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa, and late Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe.
He held several command appointments in his steady rise in the army, Commanding men and managing materials.
His military career peaked when he was appointed the Chief of Army Staff in May 1999. But before then he was Commander of the highly sensitive Lagos Garrison from July 1998 to May 1999.
Late Malu was General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division from September 1994 to May 1996; after he was appointed again as Force Commander, ECOMOG, to finish the job he started in Liberia. It was this Operation that swept away all remnants of rebel forces and secured stability for a civilian government in the country. This position he held from July 1996 to January 1998.
Earlier, On May 4, 1992, after a deep crisis in Liberia, late Malu was appointed Contingent Commander and Chief of Operations of the Nigerian Contingent to Liberia. His arrival, it was reported, boosted troops morale and quick recovery of lost territories in Liberia.
He is an heavily decorated officer. Some of his decirations includes: General Service Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal, ECOMOG Medal, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Commander of the Federal Republic, Passed Staff Course, Fellow Defence College (Dagger), and Member of the National Institute.
He held numerous military appointments, and retired after 33 years of meritorious service to his Fatherland on April 21, 2001.