Buhari, Mark mourn President condoles Ghanaian president over citizensâ€™ death in explosion.
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and George Okoh in Makurdi
Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during President Olusegun Obasanjo regime, Lt General Victor Malu (rtd), is dead.
According to a family member Bem Adoor, in Makurdi, Malu was said to have died early yesterday in a Cairo hospital, Egypt.
He was said to have travelled to Cairo two weeks ago for medical check-up where he died early yesterday.
Malu had been battling with ailment relating to stroke over the years.
He was a Commander of ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force in Sierra Leone and Liberia from August 1996 to January 1998.
Malu was appointed Chief of Army Staff in May 1999 and served till April 2001.
Born on January 15, 1947, in Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
In 1967, he enrolled into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, as part of the 3rd regular course and was commissioned second lieutenant in 1970.
Malu chaired the military tribunal that tried the former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya (rtd), in 1998 over alleged coup plot against the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Senate President, Senator David Mark, have condoled with Maluâ€™s family.
Buhari also commiserated with the government and people of Benue State on the death of Malu.
The president who also commiserated with the Nigerian Armed Forces on his passage, described Malu as a very distinguished and professional colleague who demonstrated incredible courage and leadership even during very turbulent times in Liberia.
According to a statement by his chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari recalled that as the Force Commander of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peace-keeping troops in Liberia from 1996 to 1998, Malu was an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline, and he aptly demonstrated these attributes throughout his national and international military assignments.
He said Malu would be fondly remembered both for his dedication and commitment as a military officer as well as his numerous landmark contributions to Nigeriaâ€™s unity and development.
Adesina said Buhari also urged the bereaved family, friends and associates to honour Maluâ€™s memory by upholding his invaluable sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria, adding that the president prayed Almighty God to comfort all who mourn the deceased and grant his soul peace.
Also, the president last Sunday, made a telephone call to the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, to express his condolences to the government and people of the West African country over the gas explosions in the Legon suburb of Accra on Saturday which claimed some lives and injured others.
Adesina said Buhari prayed for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
â€œThe Nigerian leader told his Ghanaian counterpart that his personal thoughts and prayers, as well as that of all Nigerians are with our Ghanaian brothers and sisters as they mourn their loved ones.
â€œPresident Buhari further prayed that Ghanaians, who are known for their extraordinary strength and resilience, will overcome this disaster and rise above the losses the country had suffered in recent times from gas-related explosions,â€ Adesina said.
President Akufo-Addo thanked President Buhari for his comforting and kind words,â€ the statement added.
On his part, Mark lamented Maluâ€™s demise, describing him as a gallant soldier.
He said: â€œI have lost a reliable brother, dependable friend, colleague and comrade, .
â€œMalu was a soldiersâ€™ soldier. He was frank and truly called a spade its rightful name no matter whose Ox was gored.
â€œUnarguably, the nation has lost one of her best and fertile minds in the armed forces. We shall sorely miss him.â€
Mark recalled their days as class mates at the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), 3rd Regular Course , Kaduna between 1967 and 1970 saying Malu was a patriot.
Only last month, the NDA 3rd Regular Course marked its 50th anniversary in Kaduna during which Malu and his class mates were honoured as worthy ambassadors of the academy.
The former senate president recalled their years in the military and submitted that a great polymath has fallen.
He stated: â€œMalu was a brilliant and courageous officer. He stood to be counted when it mattered. His contributions to the improvement of the armed forces is worthy of note. We shall miss this great man, officer and gentleman.â€
Mark prayed that God in His infinite mercies grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.