(Abuja, March 19, 2018): The remains of two former Commanders of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) who died less than three weeks apart have been buried in their respective home states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the remains of the late Retired Major General Timothy Mai Shelpidi and Brigadier General John Shagaya were buried on the 13th and the 16th of March, 2018 respectively.
According to the release, the remains of late General Major Shelpidi were buried at his home at Boh in Shongom Local Government Area of Gombe State, a state he helped to create in 1966 in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. The retired major general died on March 2, 2018 after a protracted illness at the Federal Medical Center in Abuja. He was aged 70.
During his funeral, the Governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo, who led the state government’s delegation, described his death as a big blow not only to the state, but also to the country.
Also speaking, the wife of the deceased, Ruth Shelpidi, said her husband demonstrated how a true nationalist ought to live, describing him as a man ”who lived for the unity and peaceful coexistence of the country”.
The 9th Commander of ECOMOG, General Shelpidi served from January 1998 to March, 1999 during the Liberian civil war. Prior to that, in 1997, he had served as the ECOMOG Commander in Guinea Bissau. From September 18, 2008 to October 14, 2011, he served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Federation of the Russian Republic.
Born on September 4, 1948 at Kaltungo, Bauchi State, he was enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1967.
For the late General Shagaya, he died in a ghastly motor accident in his home state of Plateau, centrally located in Nigeria, the release continues.
President Muhammadu Buhari, at his funeral, described the late Shagaya as a true soldier and detribalized Nigerian whose interest was the welfare of his people and the nation. The Nigerian President who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahaman Danbazau said “his people and nation will greatly miss such a great man who had given his all for the nation in spite of all odds.”
The late Brigadier General Shagaya was the 6th Commander of ECOMOG during Liberia’s civil war, serving from October to December in 1993. He served the Nigerian army from 1964 to 1993.
He was elected in April 2007 as a senator of Plateau South.
The deaths of Generals Shelpidi and Shagaya bring to seven the total number of former Commanders of ECOMOG who served in Liberia who have died.
The release recalls the recent pasting of Lieutenant General Victor Samuel Malu, the 8th Commander of ECOMOG during the Liberian civil war. He died in October of 2017 at age 70 and had since been buried too.
Major-Gen Gabriel Kpamber, the 11th and the last of the ECOMOG Commanders, also passed after serving in Liberia.
Others who predeceased them are Maj-Gen. Rufus Kupolati, Maj-Gen. Ishaya Bakut, and Maj-Gen. John Mark Inienger, the 3rd, 4th, and 7th ECOMOG Commanders respectively, the release concludes.
NB: Below is a chronological list of ECOMOG commanders who served in Liberia during the civil war from 1990 to 1999:
Source: Nat Bayjay / Minister Counselor for Press & Public Affairs Liberian Embassy / Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria