The news of the demise of Colonel Dahiru Chiroma Bako of 25 Task Force Brigade, Operation Lafiya Dole is indeed a shock and heart wrenching to virtually everyone who knows him irrespective of the family.
The outpouring of emotions, tributes and prayers over his demise, is a testimony to the fact that he is a significant loss to the nation. He was a gentleman and a professional military officer in all ramifications. He was rightly nicknamed and referred to as Sarkin Yaki by colleagues and all those that worked with him.
The late Colonel Dahiru Chiroma Bako was not just a Colonel and a Brigade Commander. He was a personification of the soldiering profession and a great asset to the nation. Based on his impeccable qualities as a soldier’s soldier and wonderful person, he was loved by all.
He was one of the most gallant, courageous and highly dedicated senior Army officers of the Nigerian Army that I have ever known. He was very dependable, hardworking, humble, a man of few words, forthright and down to earth. You always know where you stand with on any issue or matter. He never complains, let alone grumble, no matter the heat of the battle, pressure or circumstances.
Colonel Bako was one of the heroes of our time whose contributions to the war against terrorism and insurgency are unquantifiable. He is the type who believed in leading from the front and personally attend to matters. He motivates troops and all those that were with him in the theatre. There is no doubt that his death early Monday morning at a military hospital in Maiduguri following an injury sustained in an ambush on Sunday, is a sad blow to the nation and all those that knew him.
After clearing the ambush, the heroic Bako was evacuated and successfully operated upon, by a team of doctors from within the military and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital and was stable to the point of performing early morning prayers. The Army was determined to give the best medical care to enable him to recover fully, but death came calling suddenly.
Over time we met each other in the course of duty especially in the northeast when he was Commanding Officer of 233 Battalion. The last time we met was in Geidam, while he was an Acting Commander, 27 Task Force Brigade, after an attack on one of the locations under his command.
Since then, we have not met but kept in touch through phone calls. A very respectful friend who was always there for his colleagues and subordinates, especially when in need. A type of field commander who makes public relations and managing the image of the Army easy.
Indeed, his impeccable records speak volumes as they earned him an enviable position as the Acting Commander, 27 Task Force Brigade, a place strictly for very senior officers beyond the rank he was at that period. As Acting Brigade Commander, he demonstrated his battlefield efficiency on several occasions as he successfully liberated and secured so many towns, captured an uncountable number of terrorists in his area of responsibility which falls mostly within Yobe State.
As a result of these exploits, the terrorist dreaded him a lot as he thwarted several of their efforts, including smuggling and banditry. His presence in front lines was a morale booster to the fighting forces. It is therefore saddening that such a gallant officer will pay the supreme price following an ambush by Boko Haram elements.
The late Brigade Commander was such a daring, fearless and courageous war commander that personally led his troops in successful battles against the Boko Haram terrorists. His charismatic and humane disposition endeared him to his troops and the host community, wherever he served. He was so selfless to the point of sponsoring so many needy students and orphans to schools and vocational training.
Therefore, it was not surprising that he was given command of a Brigade again at the rank of Colonel, as his record of service and accomplishments stood him a far from his contemporaries. We will certainly miss you, Colonel DC Bako, Sarkin Yaki. We will continue to cherish your memory, pray for you and all those gallant officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen and women.
They paid the supreme price in defence of our fatherland from terrorists and criminal elements. Your death will not be in vain as we take solace and pride in the fact that you died for humanity and as a hero that would forever remember him for his immense contribution to the quest for peace on our land.
I wish to convey my deepest condolence to the Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, General Officer Commanding 7 Division, the gallant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, in particular those in 25 Task Force Brigade and his loving family over this sad loss.
As I pour out my feelings from my heart and personally mourn his demise, I seize this moment to appeal to the military leadership, especially the Nigerian Army to give Colonel Dahiru Chiroma Bako a national burial and promotion to the rank of a Brigadier General posthumously. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljannah Firdausi, Amen.
Brigadier General S.K Usman (rtd) mni was Director, Army Public Relations.