COAS rewards 7 army officers, 5 soldiers for acts of valour

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has rewarded seven officers and five soldiers for various acts of valour.

Lagbaja rewarded the officers with medals and special commendation letters at this year’s Army Day Celebration in Ibadan.

Among those recognised and honoured was Brig. Gen. Everest Ifeanyi Okoro of the Infantry Corps, who is the Commander, 13 Brigade Nigerian Army, Calabar.

Okoro was honoured for being “a very proactive senior officer, who conducted several operations to curb the occasional flow of the activities of Ambazonian rebels from the Republic of Cameroon.

The rebels had, hitherto, threatened the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

He equally prevented the incursion of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) secessionist group into his area of responsibility.

According to his citation, Okoro’s dynamic and bold actions led to the discovery and destruction of

IPOB training camp in Cross River State.

He also conducted operations that led to the interception of large cache of

explosive materials and ammunition in Amana in Northern Cross Rivers

during the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

“Gen. Okoro also accurately predicted the dynamics of the political landscape of the state in the lead up to the elections.

“He understood that it had a high propensity and potential

for political violence, and consequently took necessary measures to

prevent the breakdown of law and order.

“He planned and conducted many precursor operations that led to the arrest of many political thugs and recovery of dangerous weapons and ammunition that were to be used to disrupt the 2023 elections in his

area of responsibility.”

Also honoured was Brig.- Gen. Samaila Uba, Commander, 401 Special Forces Brigade.

Uba, on assumption of office, displayed exemplary courage and

leadership character trait which greatly reignited the troops’ confidence

and combat efficiency.

“He personally led all clearance operations and reinforcements, particularly along main supply

routes like Baga–Cross Kauwa–Monguno which were hitherto prone to terrorists ambushes and attacks.”

According to the citation, Uba coordinated Sector 3 clearance operations to Gudumbali, Dabam Masara and Alagarrno among other areas, and

successfully cleared all areas of terrorist elements.

“Particularly notable was the destruction of the headquarters of the Boko Haram Caliphate in Gudumbali in January 2022, barely two days after it was

declared a Caliphate by the terrorists.

“This greatly deflated the Boko Haram propaganda machinery and portrayed it as an ineffectual and struggling band of criminals.”

Brig.-Gen. B. O. Omopariola, who was also honoured by the COAS, is famed with physically leading all operations

conducted within his area of responsibility and recording resounding


“Particularly noteworthy was when he led a daring reinforcement to Wajiroko in Borno when terrorist attacked the Forward Operating Base on Dec. 1, 2022.

“In that encounter, despite the ambush laid for him and his men that was preceded by an Improvised Explosive Device, he defeated the ambush, captured two gun trucks, cache of arms and ammunition, and neutralised several members of the terrorist elements.

“Also, on the 13 January, 2023, he successfully defeated terrorist on Azir Bridge and captured one adversary Phantom Mine Resistance Ambush Protected vehicle, one gun truck as well as a cache of arms and ammunition.

“In a similar manner, on 23 January, 2023, he led a reinforcement along main supply route of Damboa-Komala–

Maiduguri and defeated yet another terrorist ambush on troops,

capturing another Mine Resistance Ambush Protected vehicle, three

motorcycles, one QJC anti-aircraft gun and one AK 47 rifle, among others.

Also honoured was Lt. Col. I. B. Umar who assumed command as the acting

Commandant, Forward Operating Base, Magumeri, on 28 January, 2021.

“During the period under review, he conducted several onslaughts

against terrorist elements in his area of responsibility with impressive


“Notably, he led an operation in Magumeri resulting in the

neutralisation of nine Boko Haram terrorists, and the capturing of 10 AK 47 rifles, one Beretta assault rifle, one QJC Anti-Aircraft gun and seven Dane guns.

Others are one Buffalo Gun Truck, one pick-up van, eight motorcycles, 147 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 13 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, two bandoliers and 2 x 36 hand grenades, among others.

The COAS also honoured Lt. Col. I. Indiorhwer, who assumed duties as Commanding Officer, 202 Battalion, on 17 March, 2022.

“He is result-oriented, intelligent, dexterous, dogged and courageous, thus serving as a source of inspiration and a rallying point to his men during all operational and

administrative matters.

“His exemplary leadership attributes, therefore, stand him out among his peers.

“Indiorhwer conducted several operational exploits to clear

several terrorists’ enclaves and strongholds within his area of responsibility, including Sambisa forest, amongst others.

“These operations led to the destruction of terrorist enclaves, neutralisation of

several terrorists and the capture of some high-profile terrorist


“The operations also led to the recovery of weapons and equipment alongside the rescue of many hostages held captive in these terrorist dens,” his citation read.

Also honoured was Lt. Col. N. P. Ochasi, the Commanding Officer, 151 Task Force Battalion.

“His dedication to work as the Commander led to many successes in the

fight against terrorism within his Battalion area of responsibility.

“The daily Improvised Explosive Device incidents earlier associated with his

area of responsibility have reduced to the barest minimum.

“The officer advanced with his Brigade Commander on all the operational exploits to clear several terrorists’ enclaves and strongholds within the Brigade’s area of responsibility.

“His unit was equally part of the Brigade’s operation in Sambisa forest from 12-13 May, 2023 which led to the discovery of the terrorists underground

armoury and recovery of several arms, ammunition and equipment.”

Also honoured was Maj. C. U. Okereke, for his skills at the small arms proficiency test during the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship, a biennial competition among Nigerian Army formations.

“Okereke, of 43 Engineer Brigade, exhibited an outstanding performance during Nigerian Army Small Arms

Championship 2022.

“The officer won many laurels including

Overall Best Shot, Best Shot for Male Officers Category, and Best Shot in AK 47 Rifle.

“It is, therefore, worthy to

acknowledge his blend of professional skills in marksmanship, diligence and hard work.”

For the soldiers category, Staff Sgt Ayuba Yusuf, who was enlisted into the Nigerian Army on 3 August, 1998 and currently serves at 192 Battalion Nigerian Army Owode, Ogun State, stood out.

Yusuf, over the years, exhibited extra ordinary integrity and good leadership in the discharge of his assigned task.

“Particularly notable was when he led a stop-and-search operation at Balogun Igbogila Expressway Way which led to the arrest of 3 x 5 ton trucks loaded with 295,972 rounds of 12 gauge live cartridge ammunition on 30 May, 2018.

On 25 August, 2022 while on duty at Ilaro check point, he arrested two suspected illicit drug smugglers with 792 parcels of


“It is worthy to note that the smugglers offered him the sum of Two Million Naira (N2,000,000) only, to allow safe passage of the illicit substance, which he rejected.

“This was a demonstration of integrity and professionalism.

“Equally, on 18 March, 2023, Yusuf arrested armed robbers with two locally- made pistols at Ibogun–Illaro axis while on Operation SAFE CONDUCT duties,” the citation added.

Sgt. Clement Morondo, who was enlisted into the Nigerian Army as a member of 36 Regular Recruit Intake on 19 July, 1993 and later posted to 7 Gds Bn on 31 August, 2016 was also honoured.

His citation showed that on 21 September, 2022, Morondo was deployed on guard duty at the Office of the National Security Adviser as part of the unit’s operational responsibilities.

“During the period, he displayed a high degree of alertness while on sentry at about 0300 hours when he sighted some unknown persons digging and loading 5G Armoured Cables into a vehicle.

“This prompted the soldier to challenge the suspects as they attempted to run away with the vehicle.

“Consequently, he fired at the vehicle killing one of the thieves.

“The stolen armoured cables and other items were recovered and

subsequently handed over to the Nigeria Police for further action.”

Also honoured was Sgt. Gibson Ezukanma, a member of 44 Regular Recruit Intake, currently serving at 81 Division Garrison and deployed to the

Intelligence section.

He was described as a hardworking and disciplined soldier who had

prevented the activities of criminals in 81 Division area of responsibility.

“Notably, in the early hours of 23 March, 2023, he encountered a robbery incident at Eko Bridge on his way to the office.

“In that episode, some commuters were disposed of their belongings by Lagos petty robbers.

“On arrival at the scene, he confirmed the escape route used by the

robbers and went after them with his motorcycle. He sighted

them under the Ijora/Iganmu bridge while trying to share their loot,

and accosted them.

“They abandoned the stolen items and ran away, leaving the items intact. The soldier subsequently returned to the robbery scene with the recovered items and handed them over to the victims.

LCpl Julius Ogunmakinwa of 156 Task Force Battalion, Mainok, was also honoured.

On 30 December, 2021, he effectively served as the driver to a mine resistance ambush and protected the vehicle.

On 6 June, 2022, while on duty with his assigned vehicle,

Ogunmakinwa exhibited his brave driving skills in a hot pursuit of

terrorists who attacked commuters at Goni–Masara village along

Damaturu–Maiduguri main supply route.

“Due to his ingenuity, contact was made which led to the capture of three Gun Trucks, three anti-air craft guns, three AK 47 rifles, one PKT Machine Gun and three extra barrels of anti-aircraft guns.

Also captured were two AK 47 Magazines, 438 rounds of 7.62 mm special rounds, 291 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, and various types of controlled substances.

Also honoured was LCpl Suleman Musa.

According to the citation, On 22 December, 2022, two suspected gun-runners were arrested by troops of 63 Bde in conjunction with personnel of the Department of State Services, Delta Command.

“The arrest was premised on a tip-off by Musa when he was approached by one of the suspects to procure AK–47 rifles from him, on December 20.

“Musa exhibited a high sense of integrity by rejecting One Million

and Thirty Thousand Naira (N1,030,000.00) given to him for the purchase of two AK–47 rifles.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the COAS, in line with the welfare scheme of the Nigerian Army, also rewarded some Warrant Officers with Toyota Hilux for serving for 32 years without blemish.

The officers are Ajayi Adebayo, Dauda Waheed, Arogundade Tajudeen, Nnadi Victor, Mohammed Haruna and Mathew Ogbu.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria