Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh says the late ECOWAS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Victor Samuel Leonard Malu, risked everything, including his life, for Liberia’s peace.
A press release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the Liberian Envoy made the comment when he, on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf extended Liberia’s heartfelt condolences on the sad passing of the late Nigerian army general. General Malu passed on October 9, 2017 in the United Kingdom.
“General Malu was a decorated soldier who will be remembered in Liberia for risking everything, including his personal life, in the search for peace in Liberia”, Ambassador Conteh remarked.
According to the press release, Ambassador Conteh gave the tribute on Wednesday evening, October 25, 2017, during wake-keeping over the remains of the General at the Command Officers’ Mess in Asokoro, Abuja.
The late retired Lieutenant General Malu, a former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, was Force Commander of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Peacekeeping Force (ECOMOG) who served in Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively.
Lt. Gen. Malu served as Chief of Staff of ECOMOG and Commander of the Nigerian Contingent in Liberia from 1992 to 1993. He subsequently served as the ECOMOG Force Commander in Liberia from December 1996 to April 1998. After that, he served as Chief of Army Staff during the administration of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, from May 1999 to April 2001.
“In this hour of mourning, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf extends to His Excellency Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and through His Excellency, to the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially the bereaved family, heartfelt condolences on behalf of the people of Liberia and in her own name, for the irreplaceable loss sustained”, Ambassador Conteh stated.
He continued, “On this sad occasion, Liberians of all ages and social strata wish to pay tribute to his selfless work in securing peace and stability in their country. He will always be remembered as a man of professionalism, discipline and bravery, which was clearly demonstrated during the time of greatest need in Liberia. Madame President prays that as the people of Nigeria mourn their great departed son, the Almighty Allah will grant President Buhari and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the courage and fortitude to endure this difficult period of bereavement.”
Also paying tribute was General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former head of state of Nigeria, who said the late Nigerian general impacted his troops positively.
A representative, making the tribute on behalf of the former Nigerian leader, said, “Not only his loss is to his immediate family and friends, but also to humanity in general.”
Tributes also came from scores of other dignitaries. The Acting Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, Major-General Claude Nelson Williams, also a former head of his country’s army, recalled his time he served as part of the Sierra Leonean continent to ECOMOG.
Major-General Timothy Shelpidi, who too served as a Force Commander of ECOMOG in Liberia, had his tribute written in the souvenir program: “Malu was a professional military officer who had no interest in politics. Few admired and tolerated him while many saw him as an arrogant, proud and inflexible in behavior, especially if he stood for truth.”
In his exhortation, Basil Orkpe invited everyone who is still alive into the ‘Lord’s Army’. “What speaks for you [when you are dead] is what you did [when you were alive]”, the Nigerian clergyman said. Press Release