Mohammed Shuwa

Last updated
Muhammed Shuwa
Federal Commissioner of Trade
In office
Succeeded by Isaac Shaahu as Minister of Commerce
General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army
In office
August 1967 September 1969
Succeeded byBrig. I.D. Bisalla
Personal details
Alma mater Barewa College
Regular Officers Special Training School (Teshie)
R.M.A. Sandhurst
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Branch/serviceFlag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg  Nigerian Army
Rank Major General
Commands 1 Division Nigerian Army
5th Battalion, Kano

Mohammed Shuwa (September 1, 1939 – November 2, 2012) was a Nigerian Army Major General and the first General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army's 1st Division. Shuwa commanded the Nigerian Army's 1st Division during the Nigerian Civil War. He was murdered in Maiduguri by suspected Boko Haram sect on November 2, 2012. [1]

Nigerian Army Land warfare branch of Nigerias military

The Nigerian army (NA) is the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and is responsible for land warfare operations. It is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). It bears the brunt of the nation's security challenges, notably the Boko Haram insurgency.

The 1st Division is a formation of the Nigerian Army, which traces its history to 1967. It was established during the Nigerian civil war and is charged with securing its Area of Responsibility (AOR) covering the North Western flank of Nigeria and also ensuring that the borders located in its AOR are secured. The division is a mechanized infantry with affiliated combat support and combat service support units.

Nigerian Civil War Conflict

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Biafran people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain's formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious riots in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta played a vital strategic role.


Background & education

Shuwa was born in Masharte, Borno State on September 1, 1939. He attended Kala Elementary School (1946-1947), Bama Central Elementary School (1948-1950), Bornu Middle School (1950-1952), and Barewa College, Zaria for his secondary education (1952-1957). [2] He was classmates with Gen. Murtala Muhammed at Barewa and at subsequent military institutions. Along with Murtala Muhammed and others such as Illiya Bisalla, and Ibrahim Haruna, Shuwa joined the Nigerian Army on September 19, 1958 [3] and pursued his preliminary cadet training at the Regular Officers Special Training School in Teshie, Ghana. [4] He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in July 1961 after completing officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. [5]

Borno State State in Nigeria

Borno, also known as Borno State, is a state in north-eastern Nigeria. Its capital is Maiduguri. The state was formed in 1976 from the split of the North-Eastern State. Until 1991 it contained what is now Yobe State. It is the homeland of the Kanuri people in Nigeria.

Barewa College

Barewa College is a college in Zaria, Kaduna State, northern Nigeria. Founded in 1921 by British Governor General Hugh Clifford, it was originally known as Katsina College. It switched its name to Kaduna College in 1938 and to Government College, Zaria in 1949 before settling on Barewa College. It is one of the largest boarding schools in Northern Nigeria and was the most-celebrated post-primary schools there up to the early 1960s. The school is known for the large number of elites from the region who attended and counts among its alumni five who were Nigerian presidents including the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

Zaria LGA and city in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Area. Formerly known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. Today, it is known for housing Nigeria's largest university, Ahmadu Bello University, as well as being home to a number of prominent Nigerians.

Activities during the Nigerian Army mutiny of July 1966 and October Kano massacres

July 1966 Mutiny

Then Lt. Col Shuwa was Commander of the 5th Battalion in Kano during the Nigerian Army Mutiny of July 1966 where many Igbo military officers were systematically murdered by their northern counterparts for what the northern officers perceived as retribution for the January 15, 1966 coup (which was led by mostly Igbo officers). Shuwa's deputy at the 5th Battalion, then Major James Oluleye took the initiative by asking his company commanders to lock up the battalion armory and hand over the armory keys in Olulye's armory safe. As a result of Shuwa and Oluleye's leadership, the lives of many Igbo officers during the July mutiny were saved. [6]

The 1966 Nigerian counter-coup, or the so-called "July Rematch", was the second of many military coups in Nigeria. It was masterminded by Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed and many northern military officers. The coup began as a mutiny at roughly midnight on July 28, 1966 and was a reaction to the killings of Northern politicians and Officers by mostly Igbo soldiers on January 15, 1966 The July mutiny/counter coup resulted in the murder of Nigeria's first military Head of State General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi in Ibadan by disgruntled northern non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Upon the termination of Ironsi's government, Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon was appointed Head of State by the July 1966 coup conspirators.

The 1966 Nigerian coup d'état began on 15 January 1966, when mutinous Nigerian soldiers led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna killed 22 people including the Prime Minister of Nigeria, many senior politicians, many senior Army officers, and sentinels on protective duty. The coup plotters attacked the cities of Kaduna, Ibadan, and Lagos while also blockading the Niger and Benue River within a two-day span of time before the coup plotters were subdued. The General Officer Commanding, of the Nigerian Army, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi then used the coup as a pretext to annex power, ending Nigeria's nascent democracy. It was one of the events that led to the Nigerian Civil War.

James Oluleye was a Nigerian Army major general who served as Federal Commissioner of Finance (1977–79), Federal Commissioner of Establishment and Service Matters (1975–77), and who commanded the Nigerian Army's 2nd Division from 1970 to 1975.

October Kano massacre

In late September 1966, Shuwa and Oluleye were serendipitously posted away from the 5th Battalion and were replaced by then Major Abba Kyari and Captain Auna. On October 1, 1966, 5th Battalion troops mutinied and opened fire on the parade ground as they were addressed by Major Kyari. [7] The mutineers murdered Captain Auna and their Regimental Sergeant Major Dauda Mumuni while Major Kyari was able to escape and hide off base. The rampaging soldiers broke into the armory and murdered Igbo civilians in Kano including some Igbo refugees about to board a south bound plane. Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina, military governor of the Northern Region intervened with the assistance of Lt Colonel Shuwa, Major Martin Adamu, and Lieutenant Garba Duba to suppress the mutiny. [7] The quartet was initially overwhelmed by the mutineers and subsequently enlisted the assistance of the Emir of Kano to quell the mutiny. [7]

Abba Kyari was a Nigerian Army Brigadier who served as Governor of the now defunct North-Central State, Nigeria after it was formed from the Northern Region during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon. As an army officer Kyari had survived a mutiny by a battalion under his command in the aftermath of the July 1966 Nigerian counter-coup. He subsequently rose to command the Nigerian Army's 1 Brigade and then the army's artillery branch. In July 1967 he was appointed governor of North-Central State under the military government of Yakubu Gowon. He held the position for seven years and implemented a masterplan for the development of the city of Kaduna. He cautiously welcomed the return to civilian rule. Kyari later led the northern delegation of the 1994 National Constitutional Conference and chaired its National Defence Committee. After his retirement he was a director or chairman of several businesses.

Hassan Katsina Nigerian general

Hassan Katsina was a Nigerian Army Major General and son of Usman Nagogo, the Emir of Katsina from 1944 to 1981. He was governor of the Northern Region of Nigeria from 1966 to 1967. During the Nigerian civil war, he was the Chief of Staff, Army and later became the deputy Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters under the administration of General Yakubu Gowon.

Garba Duba is a retired Nigerian Army Lieutenant General who was Governor of Bauchi State, Nigeria from July 1978 to October 1979 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Administrator of Sokoto State from January 1984 to August 1985 during the military regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari.

Activities during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)

As General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army's 1 Division during the Civil War, Shuwa opposed Murtala Mohammed's disastrous 2nd Division Onitsha river assault (almost to the point where both men exchanged blows). [8]

Murtala Mohammed Nigerian politician and general

Murtala Rufai Ramat Muhammed was the military ruler of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassination in 1976.

Upon Major Kaduna Nzeogwu's death (then a Biafran Lt. Col) at a battle with Nigerian troops in Nsukka, it was then Col. Shuwa who informed Head of State Major-General Yakubu Gowon about Nzeogwu's demise. Despite the fact that Nzeogwu was technically an enemy soldier killed in combat against the Nigerian Army, Gowon ordered that Nzeogwu's body be flown to Kaduna and buried with full military honours, even as the war raged on in the Eastern Region. [9]

Nsukka Town in Enugu State, Nigeria

Nsukka is a town and Local Government Area in southeast Nigeria in Enugu State. Towns that share a common border with Nsukka, are Eha alumona, Edem,Alor-uno, Opi, Orba and Ede-Oballa, Obukpa, Obimo. Other nearby towns include Enugu-Ezike, Ibagwa, Ovoko, Iheaka, Obollo-Afor, Nimbo, Adani, Uzo Uwani and Mkpologwu, now also lay claim to the name Nsukka. This is because they all collectively fall into the political zoning system in Nigeria known as Senatorial Zone. As of 2006 Nsukka had a population of 309,633 Nsukka Town is known as the site of the University of Nigeria, the first indigenous Nigerian university, founded by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first President of Nigeria. Currently the town has a number of Federal Parastatals in the university such as NABDA, CBSS, and the Energy Research Centre.

Yakubu Gowon Nigerian politician and Military general

General Yakubu "Jack" Dan-Yumma Gowon is the former head of state of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975. He ruled during the deadly Nigerian Civil War, which caused the death of almost 3 million people, most which were civilians. He took power after one military coup d'état and was overthrown in another. During his rule, the Nigerian government was able to prevent the Biafran secession during the Civil War, (1967-70).

Post Civil War years

From 1975 to 1979, Mohammed Shuwa served as Federal Commissioner for Trade and Works. [10] He retired from the Nigerian Army on October 1, 1979, when the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over the reins of political power in Nigeria to the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari. [3]


Gen. Shuwa was murdered in his Maiduguri home on November 2, 2012 by suspected Boko Haram militants. [11]

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  1. Fani-Kayode, Femi. "A tribute to General Mamman Shuwa". Premium Times Nigeria.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. Uwechue, Ralph (1991). Africa Who's who. Africa Journal Limited, 1991. p. 1650. ISBN   9780903274173.
  3. 1 2 Omoigui, Nowa. "Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975: The Coup Against Gowon - Epilogue". Dawodu. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. "Orji Kalu Pays Tribute To Late General Shuwa, Says He Protected Igbos … Salutes Sani Bello". Point Blank News. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  5. West Africa Volume 25, Part 2. Afrimedia International, 1971. 1971. p. 633. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  6. Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing, 2009. p. 115. ISBN   9780875867090 . Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing, 2009. pp. 134–135. ISBN   9780875867090.
  8. Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing, 2009. pp. 163–164. ISBN   9780875867090.
  9. Siollun, Max. "Who Killed Major Nzeogwu?". Gamji. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  10. "General Muhammadu Shuwa [1933-2012]". Daily Trust Nigeria. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  11. Abiodun, Joseph. "Boko Haram: Retired general, 40 youths killed in renewed violence". The Nation (Nigeria). Retrieved 15 August 2015.