The Nigerian Army has sacked gallant officer who killed over 200 Boko Haram fighters.
Lt Colonel Mohammed Abdulfatai, who once led troops in the elimination of over 200 Boko Haram terrorists, has been denied reinstatement by the Nigerian Army.
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Despite the National Assembly’s and courts’ intervention, this happened.
According to a report by PRNigeria, Abdulfatai was one of 38 senior officers retired by army authorities in June 2016.
Justice Rukiya Haastrup of the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja ruled on 14 January 2020 that Abdulfatai’s compulsory retirement was wrongful, unconstitutional, and null and void.
The judge stated, “The Army failed to act in accordance with the law.”
Justice Edith Agbakogba also granted permission for a contempt of court charge to be filed against the military chiefs for allegedly refusing to comply with a valid court order reinstating Lt Colonel Abdulfatai in May 2020.
Abdulfatai was the Commanding Officer of 195 Battalion during the peak of the insurgency in the Northeast in 2014–2015, when Boko Haram was seizing territory, according to PR Nigeria.
He was the Commanding Officer of the 195th Battalion, which was stationed at Konduga alongside the 103rd.
According to reports, Abdulfatai led his men to repel eight full-scale Boko Haram attacks in their quest to advance into Maiduguri after the fall of Gwoza, Bama, and Kawuri.
The last standing location on the axis was Konduga, where Abdulfatai’s battalion was stationed, obstructing their planned advance into the capital city.
Abdulfatai received a commendation from the military high command for gallantry in defeating Boko Haram during a five-hour counter-offensive.
More than 200 insurgents were killed, with many more injured.
The impressive defence of Konduga by Abdulfatai’s troops prompted General Kenneth Minimah, the then Chief of Army Staff, to send them special gifts, while Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima paid a thank-you visit to the location.
Brigadier General (now serving Major General) DH Ali-Keffi, then Commander 26 Taskforce Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Konduga, wrote in a letter of commendation seen by PRNigeria: “On the night of December 1-2, 2014, the defensive position of Task Force Brigade and 21 Brigade, which formed the covering force of 7 Division in Konduga front, came under Boko Haram attack.”
“The assault was preceded by a one-hour sustained bombardment of own position with anti-aircraft guns and other heavy calibre weapons, followed by six waves of ground offensive using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and other assets.”
“Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) suffered heavy casualties at the end of the battle.” As evidenced by strewn corpses and trails of bloodstains all over the battlefield, over 200 people were killed and many more were injured.
“The troops of the two Brigades performed admirably, with only one soldier killed. The troops’ bravery, especially yours, was a major factor in the victory (Lt Abdulfatai). I watched you handle the forward troops, which were the main focus of the Boko Haram offensive, with professionalism throughout the battle. You gave firm and effective orders over the radio throughout the period, ensuring that the troops in the trenches, as well as the armoured vehicles, were well-positioned to meet any BHT onslaught.
“You used artillery and mortar in equal amounts, causing serious damage to the BHT and destroying two VBIEDs in the process.” Most of the battlefield operating systems were skillfully integrated into a cohesive and effective fighting machine by you.
“I was particularly impressed by your leadership during the battle, as you demonstrated effective command and control of the troops. Your cool and collected demeanour on the radio reassured the command and elicited the appropriate response from the troops, who faced the enemy attack with confidence and morale.
“You, too, displayed rare and uncommon courage as you moved about the battlefield, oblivious to the physical danger you were in. You were unquestionably MY NIGHT HERO. Your bravery, exemplary leadership, and professional competence are all admirable qualities.
“It is thus my distinct honour and privilege to commend you for behaving so professionally in the face of a determined BHT offensive.” You are a credit to not only your unit, the brigade, but also the Konduga sector as a whole. “Well done, and keep it up,” concluded General Ali-Keffi.
Abdulfatai also led his troops in the retaking of Kawuri and Bama, earning him another letter of commendation for bravery.
“I am delighted to observe that your action during the offensive operation of that day is worthy of commendation as you not only exhibited uncommon courage but exemplary leadership with encouraged many of the troops including my humble self,” his military commander wrote in a letter with reference number Hq26/TFBDE/G1/300/03. I feel especially honoured and privileged to have fought alongside such a brave and gallant officer and gentleman like yourself. Your actions have demonstrated that you are a valuable asset to the Nigerian Army and the country as a whole.”
Abdulfatai was commissioned into the Infantry Corps in September 2000 after completing the NDA 47 Regular Combatant course.
He was a lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Academy.
He was also the Military Assistant to the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s Chief of Staff Forces, Sector Commander at Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Commanding Officer 195 Battalion Main, and Staff Officer Grade 1 at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry.
He holds master’s degrees in public administration, as well as in defence and strategic studies.