“I don’t think I will make it. I am proud to have diligently carried out my duty, thereby paying the supreme price. I pray that Nigerians remember my sacrifice to the Nation.”
(Reported last words of Lt. Col. Abu-Ali )
Words are certainly not enough to adequately express a nation’s grief over the traumatic loss of a REAL soldier who, without a second thought, heroically, patriotically, boldly and selflessly made the supreme sacrifice of losing his precious life on 4th November, 2016 on the line of duty for us to live, inadvertently made his dear wife a widow to save our wives from becoming widows, made his cherished children orphans to save our children from becoming orphans, made his lovable parents lost a brave son so that our parents continue to have us (even if we are cowards) and defended his beloved Nigeria with the last drop of his blood so that we continuously have a country to live in instead of living as refugees in other countries.
The Etsu of Bassa-Nge kingdom in Kogi State and a former Military Governor of Bauchi State, Brigadier General Abu-Ali (retd) was his father and like a true son of an army general, the young but fearless Lt. Col. Abu-Ali brilliantly commanded a number of army battalions at different times to dislodge the hitherto impregnable Boko Haram terrorists from Yola axis to Borno and up to the dreaded Sambiza forest.
He proved to be a divine password that unlocked the mystery of Boko Haram rampage in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria as he courageously led the army in capturing and liberating communities beginning from Yola-Mubi axis, Yale, Bama, Banki Junction, Baga, Pulka, Konduga, Gamborun Ngala, Gwoza (where the first 296 women were rescued) and the first to have entered the monstrous Sambiza forest with his troops after liberating Yemteke and Bita communities.
Aside from our civil war heroes, the death of Lt. Col. Abu Ali in active service is unarguably, the biggest loss of the Nigerian army since the emergence of independent Nigeria. He was born a soldier, lived a soldier, acted as a soldier and died as a leader of soldiers whom we are confident of receiving a heroic welcome hereafter. He was never an ordinary soldier!
The Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali described him as “a major pillar in the war against terrorism and insurgency in the Nort-East” region. To me, he was much more than that; Nigeria’s Ali was rather the main factor in the continuous defeat and degrading of the insurgents in the region.
He should be promoted posthumously to the rank of a General by the Nigerian Army because he had fought, commanded and led like a general! In the course of battles, he reportedly used to spur his troops to action by saying thus;
“Gentlemen, just follow me and give 5% while I will give the remaining 95%"!
It is now time for us-Nigerians to give Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali 100% by remembering him, the six (6) gallant members of his troops that died with him and all soldiers that have fallen so far in all our prayers at all times for we can not be able to pay him/them or his family/their families for the priceless services he/they had rendered so that we can live peacefully and sleep soundly in our various homes.
May our prayers comfort him/them in his grave/their graves and may Allah grant him/them Aljannatul Firdaus, ameen!
May Allah give his wife, children, parents, relations, Nigerian Army and indeed all Nigerians the fortitude to bear this huge national loss, Ameen!