Daily Trust

Late Col DC Bako: Recol­lect­ing the heroic deeds of ‘Sarkin Yaki’

- By Bri­gadier Gen­eral SK Us­man (rtd) mni FNIPR fapra Nigeria News · Terrorism · Washington · Dole · Zaria · Nigerian Army · Boko Haram · Maiduguri · Economic Community of West African States · Timbuktu · Facebook · Bacău · Ahmadu Bello University · Nigerian Defence Academy · Defence Academy · Yobe State · Irish Baptist College · Mohammed Ibrahim · Zango · Yunusari

SFri­day, Oc­to­ber 16, 2020 ince he was com­mis­sioned, the late Colonel Dahiru Chi­roma Bako, erst­while Com­man­der 25 Task Force Brigade of Op­er­a­tion LAFIYA DOLE, had his job cut out for him. He was al­ways full of ini­tia­tives and cre­ativ­ity.

His life as a mil­i­tary of­fi­cer started when he ap­plied for a Di­rect Short Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (DSSC), shortly af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence De­gree in So­ci­ol­ogy from Ah­madu Bello Uni­ver­sity Zaria in 1989. But in what turned out to be an act of des­tiny, there was the ur­gent need for more com­bat­ant of­fi­cers. There­fore, he along with 45 oth­ers were given Short Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and thus be­came a mem­ber of the Short Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (SSC) 29 of the pres­ti­gious Nige­rian De­fence Academy (NDA) which was never ad­ver­tised.

How­ever, the 46 of them were sent home and asked to re­port to the NDA in Jan­uary 1990 to start train­ing as Of­fi­cer Cadets. Through­out his stay at the NDA, he distin­guished him­self in mil­i­tary train­ing and sports. Even while on train­ing, he ex­hib­ited high qual­i­ties of ex­em­plary lead­er­ship, self­less­ness and ded­i­ca­tion to duty.

He had a very high level of en­durance to the ex­tent you won­der where he gets his en­ergy from. He was among the first four dur­ing cross coun­try and en­durance runs among his course mates. Th­ese were Colonel Ab­dula’aziz ‘Yar’Adu’a (rtd), the younger brother to late Pres­i­dent Umaru Musa Yar’Adu’a; Bri­gadier Gen­eral Saleh Kawu­gana, Com­man­dant of War­rant Of­fi­cers Academy; the late Colonel DC Bako him­self; and late Bri­gadier Gen­eral FG Dim­long, for­mer Com­man­der of 101 Divi­sion Equip­ment Sup­port.

Bako al­ways vol­un­teered on mat­ters that re­quired a high level of en­durance. He was in­ducted into the theatre in Septem­ber 2012 as the Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the newly es­tab­lished 233 Bat­tal­ion of the Nige­rian Army which was im­me­di­ately tasked with the lib­er­a­tion of Da­maturu town and en­vi­rons. Da­maturu, as at that time, was a no-go area even to the most coura­geous as it was the hot­bed of the Boko Haram ter­ror­ists’ group. How­ever, Bako took the as­sign­ment with ut­most zeal and de­ter­mi­na­tion that saw to the erad­i­ca­tion of Boko Haram ter­ror­ists from the city and en­vi­rons, thus lib­er­at­ing the Yobe State cap­i­tal.

Colonel DC Bako led the bat­tle of the recapture of the strate­gic and dreaded Ala­garno for­est which was re­puted to be the spir­i­tual head­quar­ters of the Boko Haram ter­ror­ists. Bako’s met­tle and heroic deeds were fur­ther tested when the ter­ror­ists made what turned out to be a fu­tile at­tempt at tak­ing over Da­maturu town in December 2014. The ter­ror­ists fought from early hours till the end of day­light hav­ing re­alised that Bako and his team were no match for them. Dur­ing the pur­suit and mop up, over 100 corpses of the ter­ror­ists were re­cov­ered along with high cal­i­bre weapons and equip­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to one of the of­fi­cers that served un­der his com­mand, Colonel Bako was an epit­ome of ex­em­plary lead­er­ship and self­less­ness, a com­man­der who cared more about the well-be­ing of his troops than him­self. He re­called in­stances when there were lo­gis­tics chal­lenges but Bako would al­ways en­sure that his unit was catered for in terms of ad­e­quate, qual­i­ta­tive and timely feed­ing, pay­ments of al­lowances and other en­ti­tle­ments.

He was a noted wel­farist in the full mil­i­tary sense of it as he was al­ways con­cerned about both the well-be­ing of his troops and their fam­i­lies too. He went even be­yond statu­tory ser­vice re­quire­ment to reach out and care for troops’ fam­i­lies if they fell or were wounded in ac­tion.

The ex­ploits of late Colonel DC Bako in the fight against the Boko Haram ter­ror­ists in Yobe State were lim­it­less as there was no way any­one could talk of the bat­tle with­out men­tion­ing his im­mense con­tri­bu­tions. For ex­am­ple in 2014 when the ter­ror­ists tried to ex­pand their ten­ta­cles be­yond Maiduguri, they de­cided to take on Po­tiskum where they had two strong bases - con­crete lo­ca­tions - from where they launched at­tacks and ex­torted money from the in­ter­na­tional cat­tle mar­ket.

He routed them out and made sure that they never re-es­tab­lished any base in Po­tiskum. He was able to es­tab­lish re­li­able sources that gave him in­for­ma­tion which he promptly and proac­tively acted upon. They made sev­eral at­tempts to at­tack and elim­i­nate him in Da­maturu but with­out suc­cess. The ter­ror­ists were ever taken un­awares, and no­body knew his itin­er­ary. He tra­versed Da­maturu, Nguru and Gashua. He spent one week in the bush and sweep­ing ter­ror­ists out of vil­lages up to Ashaka.

No­body will tell you any­thing con­trary to his good qual­i­ties. He has two unique things; he was al­ways look­ing for those that he could help; had an ear to the ground and of­ten sur­prised peo­ple in need. He was con­tented and hum­ble. He was some­body whose mates al­ways sought for ad­vice.

His com­man­ders, Ma­jor Gen­eral U. A. Yusuf, Chief of Staff of the ECOWAS Standby Force, Bri­gadier Gen­eral D.

Ab­dul­salam (rtd), for­mer Di­rec­tor of Train­ing at the Army Head­quar­ters and now Spe­cial Ad­viser to Yobe State Gov­er­nor on Se­cu­rity, Bri­gadier Gen­eral Dam­madami, the act­ing GOC 3 Divi­sion, while at 27 Task Force Brigade tes­ti­fied to his courage, ab­so­lute loy­alty and com­mit­ment to duty. While in that axis, he served as Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer 233 Bat­tal­ion, Chief of Staff and later Act­ing Com­man­der 27 Task Force Brigade which had its head­quar­ters in Da­maturu be­fore its move­ment to Buni Yadi, Yobe State.

He pro­moted civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tions to a high level as there was no re­ported case of an al­ter­ca­tion between his troops and civil­ians de­spite the pre­vail­ing ten­sion and war sit­u­a­tion. He acted as a pil­lar of sup­port and a great mo­ti­va­tor as tes­ti­fied by the Com­man­dant, Po­lice Academy Wudil, As­sis­tant In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, Zanna Mo­hammed Ibrahim, while re­call­ing his tour of duty as Yobe State Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice at the heat of the bat­tle in 2014.

He fur­ther stated that Colonel Bako taught the sense of syn­ergy amongst all se­cu­rity agen­cies in the fight against in­sur­gents in Yobe State. The late of­fi­cer fought hard to en­sure that se­cu­rity meet­ings held at least once a month and with the gov­er­nor in at­ten­dance. AIG Zanna also said: “I re­mem­ber vividly how he in­tro­duced joint show of force on Fri­days, Sun­days and the eve of Mus­lim and Chris­tian fes­tiv­i­ties. This ini­tia­tive checked at­tacks on those oc­ca­sions.”

A par­tic­u­lar lady also re­called how Bako saved her life and her baby while on ad­mis­sion at the ma­ter­nity ward of a hospital which the Boko Haram at­tacked. When Bako heard about it, he went in and brought her to safety and she was safely de­liv­ered of a bounc­ing baby boy.

It is by no ac­ci­dent or co­in­ci­dence that late Colonel DC Bako was nick­named ‘Sarkin Yaki’. There is also no way the story of the war would be told with­out re­course to his heroic deeds. Colonel DC Bako had par­tic­i­pated in most of the bat­tles, at­tacks, coun­ter­at­tacks and lib­er­a­tion of many towns and vil­lages es­pe­cially in Yobe and parts of Borno State. Some of th­ese acts of brav­ery in­clude ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in Op­er­a­tion SAN­ITY II which cleared Da­maturu of all Boko Haram el­e­ments in­clud­ing Shekau who took refuge at Zango area. He led the as­sault into the Tim­buktu Tri­an­gle and in the process cleared Goniri, Aji­gin, Talala and Gworg­wori and the Almighty Ala­garno.

Bako par­tic­i­pated in op­er­a­tions that led to the recapture of Buni Yadi and Buni Gari and Gu­lani, as well as con­duct­ing op­er­a­tions that cleared Mafa in Yobe, Gei­dam, Kanamma and other Boko Haram in­fested ar­eas of Yunusari LGA. He led the coun­ter­at­tack that chased away Boko Haram el­e­ments that took over Yobe State gov­ern­ment house in Da­maturu.

He held vir­tu­ally all ap­point­ments com­men­su­rate to his rank at the theatre; he was pi­o­neer Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of 233 Bat­tal­ion from 2012 to 2014. He was made act­ing Com­man­der of 27 Task Force Brigade and later, Chief of Staff at the Head­quar­ters of Sec­tor, Op­er­a­tion LAFIYA DOLE in Da­maturu. De­ter­mined to suc­ceed, Colonel Bako es­tab­lished and nur­tured the Yobe Peace Group (a vol­un­teer vig­i­lante group) that sup­ports the mil­i­tary in its op­er­a­tions.

Un­known things about him

He was a quiet, hum­ble and unas­sum­ing fel­low who was fo­cused on his job. His com­mit­ment to the job was un­prece­dented be­cause from 2012 that he was posted to Yobe State un­til he died in 2020, he did not spend 30 good days with his fam­ily. His sec­ond child, Zubairu, who is a fi­nal year stu­dent in one of the uni­ver­si­ties, wrote on his Face­book page that the last time he saw his fa­ther was in Novem­ber 2018. This was to ex­plain the level of Col Bako’s com­mit­ment to duty even at the ex­pense of his fam­ily’s wel­fare. He sac­ri­ficed a lot for his troops’ wel­fare and well-be­ing.

His pas­sion for the job

He was very pas­sion­ate about the job to the ex­tent that even as a brigade com­man­der when his per­sonal ef­fects were handed over to his fam­ily, not a sin­gle kobo was in­cluded. This is be­cause he com­mit­ted all re­sources at his dis­posal (both pri­vate and pub­lic) to the suc­cess of his job. He re­ceived ac­co­lades in all the places he served. In­deed, his death is a sad blow to hu­man­ity and all peace-lov­ing peo­ple. May Al­lah grant him Al­jan­nah Fir­dausi, amen.

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