Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has expressed sadness over the death of Lt Col. Muhammed Abu-Ali, who was killed by the terrorist group, Boko Haram on Friday. Abu-Ali was of a royal family from the state.
Since the demise of Abu-Ali on Saturday tears have flowed freely for the fallen hero.
Governor Bello expressed his condolences to the bereaved family.
Bello described his death as unfortunate and “a monumental loss to Kogi State and Nigeria”.
Governor Bello said the late officer “was a gallant officer who served the nation with his all and paid the supreme price by laying down his life for the peace of the country”.
He also said the late soldiers would be remembered for his sacrifice and commitment to the cause of the Nigerian Army to rid the country of insurgency.
“Kogi State and indeed Nigerians will never forget your gallantry as you led a team of the Nigerian Army to recapture Baga from the control of terrorists and your death while in active service, gallant soldier,” the Governor said on Sunday.
Governor Bello extended his condolences to the Etsu of Bassa-Nge Kingdom, himself a retired Brigadier General, over the “devastating loss”.
“Allah giveth and He taketh, from Him we came and to Him we return. May Allah give you the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.
“May Almighty Allah grant late Lt. Col. Muhammed Abu Aljannah Firdaus. Ameen,” Bello said.
Meanwhile, members of the #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG) advocacy, also mourned the passing of Abu-Ali.
In a statement, the group said, “The news of the death of the Commanding Officer of the 272 Task Force Tank Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Muhammed Abu Ali, a highly-rated, young officer and 4 other members of his team, in a separate incident at Mallam Fatori, is unfortunate and saddening. We send our heartfelt condolences especially to their families, and the Nigerian military.”
Lt. Col. Abu Ali who was killed by Boko Haram terrorists left behind a young wife and child.
Abu-Ali was killed in a sundown ambush by Boko Haram as he was coordinating a reinforcement to repel an ongoing gunbattle in Mallam Fatori — an insurgent stronghold on the northernmost tip of Borno State.
The Army announced his passing, and that of four other soldiers, in a statement around noon on Saturday.
By Saturday evening, a photo emerged of saluting and pensive-looking soldiers who lined the runway as the body of the fallen officer was unloaded from a Super Puma helicopter onto a stretcher.
The tragedy came barely a year after Abu-Ali was specially promoted from a Major to a Lieutenant Colonel by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for the uncommon gallantry he brought to the battlefield.
For several months preceding the recognition, Abu-Ali had been involved in audacious operations that ended in the liberation of several Northeast settlements previously held by Boko Haram.
The operations that ended in the recapture of Baga and Gamboru-Ngala by the Nigerian soldiers marked a significant watershed in the war against Boko Haram.
The story of his death and valour has gripped the country, with many on social media directing their thoughts and prayers to his family.
The gallant Officer was a recipient of the Chief of Army Staff Award for exceptional bravery and excellence.
His death came at a time the Nigerian troops are gradually flushing out the insurgents into extinction with sustained attacks on their hideouts.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari saluted the efforts of the Nigerian Army in rescuing another abducted Chibok school girl.
On his Twitter handle, President Buhari commended the troops for their gallant efforts to secure the people and territory of Nigeria, describing them as the nation’s heroes.
“I have received the heart-warming news of the rescue of another of our Chibok girls by the Nigerian Army.
“I commend our troops, who continue to work gallantly to secure the people and territory of Nigeria. You are our heroes.
“No man, woman, or child will be left at the mercy of Boko Haram. This has always been our promise and we fully intend to keep it,’’ he said.