As I pour out these 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.

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 knew him. 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 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 knew where you stood with him on any issue or matter. He never complained, 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 was the type who believed in leading from the front and personally attend to matters. He motivated troops and all those that were with him in the theatre. There is no doubt that his death at a military hospital in Maiduguri, following the injury sustained in an ambush, is a sad blow to the nation and all those who 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 him the best medical care towards a full recovery, but death came calling suddenly.

Over time, we met each other in the course of duty, especially in the North-East when he was the commanding officer of 233 Battalion. The last time we met was in Geidam, while he was acting commander of the 27 Task Force Brigade, after an attack on one of the locations under his command. Since then, we did not meet again but kept in touch through phone calls. He was a very respectful friend who was always there for his colleagues and subordinates, especially when in need. A type of field commander who made 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, which was strictly for very senior officers beyond the rank that 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 the front lines was a morale booster to the fighting forces. It was therefore saddening that such a gallant officer would pay the supreme price following an ambush by Boko Haram elements. The late Brigade Commander was such a daring, fearless and courageous war commander who personally led his troops in successful battles against 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 a colonel, as his record of service and accomplishments stood him afar from his contemporaries. We will certainly miss you, Colonel D.C. Bako, Sarkin Yaki. We will continue to cherish your memory, pray for you and all those gallant officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen and women who 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 be remembered for his immense contributions to the quest for peace in our land. I wish to convey my deepest condolence to the chief of Army staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai; the theatre commander, Operation Lafiya Dole; the general officer commanding the 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 these 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.

Sani Kukasheka Usman, a retired brigadier-general, is the immediate past director of Army Public Relations and is currently a public relations consultant in Abuja. He is also the consultant director, Corporate Affairs and Information Services at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja. He can be reached on his twitter handle @skusman