Profile of Brigadier Zakariya Abubakar Hassan Maimalari by Mustapha Lawal

Commander 2nd Brigade, Nigerian Army, Apapa, Lagos

Zakariya Maimalari was born on the 17th January 1930 into the Royal family in Maimalari village of old Borno Province (Now Yobe State). He had instructions in Qur’anic recitation at his father Mallam Abubakar Hassan’s place. He began his Elementary School, Nguru 1934, and he proceeded to Borno Middle School in Maiduguri where he completed his primary education in 1941. He was at Kaduna College (Barewa College) from where he graduated with the Cambridge Certificate 1949.

He enlisted into Nigerian Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) at Zaria Training Depot 1950. He underwent an eight week Officer Cadet induction and orientation training at Zaria from where he proceeded to the West African School of infantry, Teshi, in Ghana for further training in preparation for enrolment in the Officers’ Cadet Training School at Eaton Hall, Chester, He was enrolled in 1951 preparatory to his subsequent entry into the Royal Military Academy (RMAS) Sandhurt in the UK in September of the Same year for a regular combatant course to January 1953 and was granted Queen’s Regular Combatanant Commission on 5th February 1953 as Second Liutenant.

Upon his return to Nigeria, Zakariya Maimalari was seconded to the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) to serve as Platoon Commander and was promoted to substantive Lieutenant in February 1955. He was posted to the Nigerian Army Signal Squadron in 1956, Boys’ Company, now Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria where he held the first Second Command (2i/c) 1957 to 1959. Then a substantive Major and he was appointed a Company Commander in one of the Royal Nigerian Army Battalions that served in the United Nations (UN) Congo operations.

In pursuance of his military career, he attended very wide ranking military courses oversee, including the platoon weapons course at the school of Infantry, Hythe, UK between January to March 1955 and also Infantry in January 1956. he attended the Regimental Signal Instructors course Number 20 at the same Military Institute from September to November 1956.

He served as second in command and instructor at the Nigerian Military Training College (N.M.T.C.) Jaji, Kaduna now Nigerian Defence Academy.

He was called to be in the Command and Staff College between January to December 1961 at Quetta Pakistan.

On his return to Nigeria, he was immediately promoted to substantive rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was on 23rd April 1962 he was posted to 2nd Queen’s Own Nigeria (2QONR) as Commanding Officer. In November 1962, he was called upon for active service again in the Congo operations. Immediately upon arrival there, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and within three months he got promoted to the rank of Brigadier on his return from Congo in the same year, he was appointed Brigade Commander 2nd Brigade Nigerian Army Apapa, Lagos in 1963, he reached the pinnacle of his military career when he was nominated to attend the Policy, Defence and Strategic Studies course in the United Kingdom. In 1964 he proceeded to the Imperial Defence College (IDC) now Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London for a course which lasted till December 1965.

On his return from the IDC, the Brigadier continued to serve in his capacity as Commander 2nd Infantry Brigade, Nigerian Army, Apapa, Lagos till 1966.

Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari was holder of the Campaign Stars Medal; Medal Forces Service Star; Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Coronation Medal and the United Nation’s Congo Medal.

On the night of 15th January, 1966, Brigadier Zakariya had hosted a party in residence in Ikoyi and later hours Major Donatus Okafor, Officer Commanding Federal Guards invaded his resident but Brigadier escape the initial attackers, only to fall into the hands of his Brigade Chief of Staff, Major Emmanuel Arinze Ifejuna. Who was part of the coupists and shot him death.


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