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Murtala Muhammed: The Corruption Fighter

By Njideka Agbo 08 November 2018   |   6:14 am

Murtala Muhammed was born on this day in 1938 to a family of 13 in Kano. After his primary education, he attended Government College (now known as Barewa College) in Zaria and graduated in 1957.

The following year, he enrolled in the Nigerian Army. After his enrollment, Muhammed trained as an officer cadet at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in England. Upon completion, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1961 and was thereafter, assigned to the Nigerian Army Signals.

In 1962, he became a part of the UN peacekeeping force and later, an aide-de-camp (ADC) to M. A. Majekodunmi, the
administrator of the Western Region.

In 1963, he was appointed officer-in-charge of the First Brigade Signal Troop in Kaduna, Nigeria.
A year later, he was promoted to major and appointed officer-commanding, 1st Signal Squadron in Apapa, Lagos.

In 1965, he was appointed acting Chief of Signals of the Army. In 1966, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was the inspector of signals in Lagos.

During the Nigerian Civil War, Muhammed was General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army’s 2nd Division, the division is credited with beating back the Biafran Army from the western region.

In 1971, he was elevated to Brigadier-general. Three years later, he became the Federal Commissioner for Communications under General Yakubu Gowon.

After the coup removing Gowon on the 29th July 1975, he took over as Head Of State. As head of state, over 10, 000 public officials, charged many to court for malpractices, and fraudulent companies were sanctioned.
His tenure was shortlived because he was assassinated six months (February 13, 1976) into power.

President Buhari described him as a man who exhibited “professional excellence, competence, straightforwardness and genuine interest and concern for up-and-coming officers like myself.”

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