The second Nigerian senior military officer, Major General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman, who led the post-war Liberia Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) resurgence, has died in New York, while undergoing treatment, Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr., disclosed yesterday in Monrovia. He was 62.
According to Minister Samukai, the former Commander in Charge of the AFL died Wednesday in New York, where he was undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment he had suffered for some time now.
Minister Samukai told this paper late yesterday that with the loss of Major General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman, Liberia and the AFL are indebted to the late ‘professional soldier’ for his “immense contributions” made to help transform the country’s post-war military.
The Defense Minister said he received the sad news at about 11:35pm local time, from Nigeria. "He apparently was not well when he left here last year. He went to New York, where he was being treated. The treatment was going on quite well from what we understand until the last few days," said Minister Samukai.
He recalled a military man well grounded in the field that was always willing and ready to teach. "He always told us that the best morale that you can give a soldier is adequate training."
Minister Samukai said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was in the process of preparing a speech to recognize the former AFL chief's contributions to the Liberian army at the upcoming Armed Forces Day on Feb 11 this year, has been appropriately informed.
At his turning over last February to the newly promoted Chief of Staff (COS) of the AFL, Brigadier General Daniel Dee Ziahnkan, Maj/Gen. Abdurrahman said he was happy to have helped the new Army, and has no doubt that the new Army as a ‘force for good’ can carry out its duties well.
"I want to thank the new Army and the people of Liberia for accepting me to help in the reconstruction of the new AFL, who I have no doubt can carry out their duties efficiently."
Major General Abdurrahman assumed command of the army in June 2007, succeeding fellow Nigerian, Lt. General Luka Yusuf, who also died shortly after leaving his post as Commanding officer in-Charge of the AFL.
The late Major General held a PhD in Architecture from Heriot-Watt University in the United Kingdom. Born on September 9, 1954, Abdurrahman was an Architect, Engineer Officer of the Nigerian Army prior to taking up his post in Liberia.
He was educated at LEA Primary School, Maiduguri Road, KADUNA (1961-67); Government College, KEFFI WASC, 1972. He entered the Nigerian Army as an Officer Cadet on NDA Regular Course 14 in 1973. He then attended the Nigerian Defence Academy, KADUNA NDACE, 1974; the Engineer Officers' Orientation Course (EYOOC) NAETS, 1976; the Unit Security Officer's Course NAIS, 1976; Ahmadu Bello University, ZARIA BSc (Arch), 1979; the Engineer Young Officers' Course (EYOC) NASME, 1981; Ahmadu Bello University, ZARIA MSc (Arch), 1981; Heriot-Watt University, EDINBURGH, UK PhD (Arch), 1985; Army Junior Staff Course (AJSC) CSC, 1986; Engineer Squadron Commanders' Course NASME, 1986; Senior Command and Staff Course (CSC) CSC, 1988; Commanding Officers' Course (COC) ICS, 1992; National War College 2000; International Joint Operations Planning Course (IJOPC) UK, 2003.
Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of condolence to the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following news of the death of Major General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman.
In her message to her Nigerian counterpart, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President Sirleaf extended her heartfelt condolences to the Nigerian leader, and through him, to the Government and People of Nigeria, especially the bereaved family for the irreparable loss sustained.
“We have learned with profound sorrow, the news of the death of Maj/Gen. Abdurrahman, former Chief of Staff of the AFL,” President Sirleaf declared with deep sorrow.
The Liberian leader further noted that the late Nigerian soldier will be remembered for his “numerous contributions” made to the Government and People of Liberia, most especially his role played in forming the new AFL, in the spirit of African solidarity.