The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has commiserated with the family of late retired Maj.-Gen. Aderonke Kale, the first female Major General in the Nigerian Army who passed away on Wednesday in London.
This is contained in a statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, on Saturday in Abuja.
Lagbaja described the demise of Akale as a great loss to the Nigerian army, describing her as a shining veteran who exuded unequalled commitment, diligence and unquestionable loyalty to the army and the nation.
These qualities, according to Lagbaja, paved the way, as she steadily rose through the ranks to become the first female officer of the Nigerian army to attain the enviable height of Major General.
He added that her legacies in the selfless service to Nigeria and humanity would remain indelible in the hearts of many.
Lagbaja prayed for the repose of her soul and the fortitude for the family to bear the irreplaceable loss.
“Late Gen. Kale, renowned for reshaping the face of women and gender mainstreaming in the Nigerian military, was born into a family of professionals, her father was a pharmacist, and her mother a teacher.
“The late general had her primary education in Lagos and Zaria, and her post primary education in St. Anne’s School, Ibadan and Abeokuta Grammar School respectively.”
According to him, she opted to study Medicine and successfully gained admission into the University College, which later became University of Ibadan.
“After her graduation as a medical doctor, she proceeded to the University of London to specialize in Psychiatry.
“General Kale worked briefly in Britain and returned to Nigeria in the year 1971 to join the Nigerian Army in 1972.
“Her competence as a psychiatrist was recognized in 1973, when she qualified as a Consultant Psychiatrist and in 1982 she became Chief Consultant,” he said.
He said that in the course of her service from 1980 to 1985 her management acumen came to bear in her career, when she became the Commanding Officer of the Military Hospital Ibadan.
“She thus had the distinction of being the first woman to command a military hospital in Nigeria.
“In 1985 to 1987, she performed the same feat in the Military Hospital, Enugu, and from 1989 to 1990 in the Military Hospital, Benin.
“With such vital experience, she was elevated to the position of Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Army Medical Corps and School in 1991 till 1994,” he said.
According to him, in 1994, she became the first female officer to be promoted to the rank of Major General in the Nigerian Army and the West African sub-region.
“She finally attained the peak of her career, when she became the Commander of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps.
“First time in the history of the Nigerian Army, that a female officer was entrusted with the crucial responsibility of health care for all Nigerian Army personnel and their families,” he said. (NAN)