Gen Shagaya, IBB loyalist, dead

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John Nanzip Shagaya, a retired and a former Senator died earlier today in a motor accident, family sources told The Oracle Today. Shagaya, one of the loyalists of former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was travelling from his native Langtang to Jos, when the accident occurred.

He was elected to the Senate in 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State for Plateau South. He ran for reelection in April 2011 on the Labour Party (LP) platform. Victor Lar of the PDP defeated him. Born on 2 September 1942 to Mallam Sikji Miri Wazhi (alias Shagaya) and Mrs. Maryamu Zwancit. He attended Junior Primary School at Nyer, and Sudan United Mission Primary School, Langtang (1952–1959). He studied at the Nigerian Military School Zaria 1960-1964.

After graduation, Shagaya was posted to the Nigerian Army Corps, and then posted to 3 Marine Commando when he gained his commission as Second Lieutenant. He participated with the Marine Commando in the Nigeria Civil War (1967–1970).

Later appointments included Grade Three staff officer Nigeria Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Director of Cadets, Nigerian Defence Academy, Director of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Brigade Commander, 9 Mechanised Infantry Brigade, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, and General Officer Commanding, 1st Mechanised Infantry Division.

Under the Military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, Shagaya was Federal Minister of Internal Affairs, a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council and a member of the Police Council. He also served as chairman of the Committee set up in 1987 to decide on Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Shagaya was involved in drafting the main protocols for the Economic Community of West African States. As a member of the National Boundary Commission, he helped resolve disputes with Benin and Chad.

Shagaya was appointed Field Commander in the ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force in Liberia in September 1993, relieving Major General Tunji Olurin.

On November 17, 1993, General Sani Abacha became head of state after a military coup. Abacha distrusted Brigadier John Shagaya and other “IBB boys” loyal to Babangida. Within a few days, Shagaya was recalled from Liberia, demoted from Major General to Brigadier General and then retired from the army.

Participation in the Nigerian Counter Coup of July 1966 Shagaya, then a Corporal with the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron in Abeokuta, was one of the many soldiers of northern Nigerian origin (including 2nd Lieutenant Sani Abacha, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako, Major Theophilus Danjuma, Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Muhammed, and Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida among others), who staged what became known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 because of grievances they felt towards the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi’s government which quelled the January 15, 1966 coup.

He was Director of Lion Bank (Nigeria) between 1998 and 2003. John Shagaya was a foundation member of the United Nigeria People’s Party (UNPP), running unsuccessfully for the Senatorial seat of Plateau South in 1999 elections. Before the 2003 elections he joined the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), but was defeated again.

Shagaya’s election as Senator for Plateau South in 2007 was challenged, and nullified by the elections petition tribunal, but in December 2008 a Court of Appeal in Jos overthrew this decision and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Shagaya

In June 2009, Shagaya warned that offering an amnesty to the Niger Delta militants might not end the violence. The militants might hide their best weapons, and return only disused and damaged ones.

In an interview in October 2009 he defended the various military interventions since Nigeria gained independence, and stated that the influence of generals in politics since 1999 simply reflected their training and discipline.

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