General Domkat Bali Dies

Former defence minister and chief of defence staff, General Domkat Yah Bali is dead. He was 80 years old.

Bali who later became traditional ruler of his native town died Friday, with President Muhammadu Buhari mourning his transition.

In a condolence message to the government and people of Plateau, Buhari described Bali as an illustrious son and highly decorated retired military officer.

The President, who spoke with the wife of the deceased, Esther on Friday, also commiserated with other family members, friends and professional associates of the former member of the Supreme Military Council and Armed Forces Ruling Council.

Bali, a member of the Langtang mafia in the Nigerian military in the 80s and 90s, rose through the ranks, with a distinguished military career, reaching the peak as Chief of Defence Staff.

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President Buhari said he believes that the records of bravery and patriotism of Gen. Bali, the Ponzhi Tarok, will continue to inspire young military officers.

He also hoped that the foundation Bali laid in all the commands he headed will always be remembered.

The President has also constituted a delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) to visit the family, and condole with government and people of the state over the loss.

President Buhari prayed that the almighty God will receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.

Bali as defence minister resigned the position in January 1990, when then military president Ibrahim Babangida moved him into another ministry.

It was an unprecedented act of courage in the military and remains so, three decades after.

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Bali, who was born on 27 February in 1940 joined the army in 1961.

He had his primary education at Mban, Langtang and from 1955 to 1960, he attended the provincial secondary school at Kuru.

He entered Nigerian Military Training College in 1961 and also attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

In 1964, he became a lieutenant and troop commander.

He became captain a year later in 1965. In 1966, he was battery commander and during the Nigerian Civil War, he was a regimental commander.

He was made major in 1968.

Between 1970 and 1971, Bali was commander, Corps of Artillery.

He later became a colonel at the Second Infantry Division in Ibadan.

In 1973, he was posted to Akure as the commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade.

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He became the adjutant general Nigerian army in 1975, commander Corps of Artillery in 1976 and in 1978, he was the GOC of the First Infantry Division, Kaduna.

Prior to becoming Defence Minister in 1984, he was Commandant of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College from 1981 to 1983 and later director of army training and operations.