• Buhari, Shetttima Mourn
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Former Military Governor of the old Kaduna State, Air Vice Marshall Mouktar Mohammed (rtd), is dead.
He died at the age of 73 in a hospital in London last Sunday after a protracted illness.
Mohammed was appointed into the highest decision making body in Nigeria, the Supreme Military Council, in 1975.
Until his death, he held a traditional title of Wazirin Dutse, and was the Chairman of Freedom Radio Group Board of Directors.
Mohammed was recently appointed by the federal government as the Chairman Governing Council of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Kaduna State
He was appointed the Federal Minister of Housing, Urban Development and Environment in 1976 and was instrumental to the creation of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The deceased was also the Chairman of the National Cash Crops Rehabilitation Project in 1975.
Mohammed was the Chairman of Terytex Limited, Dailfam Nigeria Limited, Zamani College, Kaduna and Director, Automotive Components Industry, Kaduna.
He is survived by wife, many children and relatives.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima have described the late Mohammed as “one of the finest, most principled, patriotic and loyal military officers,” they have ever known and respected.
According to a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari said Mohammed was so passionately committed to his principles and beliefs that he had to leave his military career earlier than expected.
“Very few Nigerians are ready to lose their jobs or offices on account of their beliefs, but late Mohammed was an exception to this ugly reality of Nigeria, a society where public office holders respect power more than principles,” he was quoted as saying.
Shehu said Buhari also described the late chairman of the Freedom Radio Kano as a fountain of inspiration who loved the progress of Nigeria at all times.
“The president also recalled the significant role played by the late Air Force officer in the realisation of his people for the creation of the present Jigawa State.
“He extended his condolences to the government, the family and people of Jigawa and Kano States over the loss of this illustrious public figure. He prayed to Allah to forgive his gentle soul,” the statement added.
On his part, Shettima expressed shock over the demise of Mohammed.
In a statement by the governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said:: “This is shocking! Coming few months after the death of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the demise of Muhammad is yet another big loss to the northern voice. He was a sound and eloquent statesman who cared about the competitiveness of the North in all affairs of the country.
“It was out of his genuine passion for northern Nigeria that he invested in the establishment of freedom radio even when radio broadcasting was not known to be a lucrative business but rather a social service. He wanted to open a station in Maiduguri in spite of our challenges. He was in the state on different occasions to either lead or be part of delegations on issues relating to the challenges posed by Boko Haram and other issues concerning northern Nigeria.”
The governor further said: Mohammad was always around for the stability and progress of the North. He was even at the Borno lodge early last month when we had meetings with representatives of northern elders and the coalition of northern groups over issues of national unity and he contributed positively to that meeting.
“He even offered to be available anytime there was need to bring together retired military officers to contribute in whatever ways in efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency. Muhammad cared for the North, invested selflessly for the North and represented the region so efficiently in many respects. May Allah admit him into Aljanna Firdaus. My heart goes out to his family, the management and staff of Freedom Radio and our elders in northern Nigeria on yet another big loss. Inna lillahi wa Inna ilaihi Raajiun.”