Olanrewaju, Shagaya’s Army colleague, mourns as ex-ECOMOG Commander dies in ghastly auto crash


Late Brigadier General John Nanzip Shagaya (Rtd).

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Former Minister of Communications and General Officer Commanding, Third Armourd Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (Rtd), has expressed his pains over the sudden death, by auto crash on Sunday, of a former colleague in the Nigerian Army, late Brigadier General John Nanzip Shagaya.

General Olanrewaju described the death of the late fine officer, who was General Ibrahim Babangida military regime’s Minister of Internal Affairs, and Armed Forces Ruling Council and Police Council member, as a great loss to the country.

Olanrewaju, Shagaya, also a former Nigeria’s Senator in the ongoing Fourth Republic, “was well loved by most of us, his peers in the Nigerian Army.  The Army has lost a disciplined, dynamic and intelligently bright mind.  May his soul rest in peace,” General Olanrewaju said.

Late General John Nanzip Shagaya, who was Senator representing Plateau South in the National Assembly, died as a result of a car accident while returning to Jos from Langtang his ancestral home.

Recalled that he was among the last batch of appointees appointed by President Muhammad Buhari and was to be the Board Chairman of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru.

Chief Dan Dandur, former Chairman, Langtang North Local Government in Plateau, confirms.

Born on September 2, 1942 to Mallam Sikji Miri Wazhi, also known as Shagaya, and Mrs Maryamu Zwancit, Brigadier General John Nanzip Shagaya, attended Junior Primary School at Nyer and Sudan United Mission Primary School, Langtang (1952 – 1959).  He studied at the Nigerian Military School, Zaria (1960 – 1964).  As a non-commissioned officer (NCO) with the Second Reconnaissance Squadron in Abeokuta, he participated in the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966.

After graduation, he was posted to the Nigerian Army Corps, then posted to Third Marine Commando when he gained his commission as Second Lieutenant. He participated with the Marine Commando in the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970).

His other appointments as he proceeded in his military career included Grade Three Staff Officer Nigeria Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Director of Cadets, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, Director of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Brigade Commander, Nine Mechanised Infantry Brigade, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, and General Officer Commanding, First Mechanised Infantry Division.

Under the Military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, Shagaya was Federal Minister of Internal Affairs, a member of the Armed Froces Ruling Council (AFRC) and a member of the Police Council. He also served as Chairman of the committee set up in 1987 to decide on Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).  Shagaya was involved in drafting the main protocols for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). As a member of the National Boundary Commission, he helped resolve disputes with Benin and Chad.

John Nanzip Shagaya was appointed Field Commander in the ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force in Liberia in September 1993, relieving Brigadier General Tunji Olurin.  On November 17, 1993, General Sani Abacha became the Head of State after a military coup.  Abacha distrusted Brigadier John Shagaya and other “IBB boys” loyal to Babangida. Within a few days, Shagaya was recalled from Liberia, demoted from Major General to Brigadier General and then retired from the army.

As democracy returned in 1999, General John Shagaya became elected Senator on the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), representing Plateau South eight years after in the April 2007 general elections.  He however failed to make re-election to the Senate having lost the chance to pick PDP ticket but defected to the Labour Party (LP) and lost the zone senatorship to Victor Lar of PDP in the 2011 general elections.

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