He was an amiable, kind-hearted military officer who did his best to make life meaningful for his subordinates and peers alike. He was an engaging and likeable person who was loved by all. A good Muslim who practised the tenets of his faith with sincerity.
Brig. Gen. Garba who died aged 52 on Tuesday May 19, 2009 in a ghastly motor accident which also claimed the lives of his beloved wife of 27 years Hajiya Aishatu and their only daugther Maryam at Gunduma near Keffi, was travelling back from his home town, Kwajan, in Lere Local Government of Kaduna State.
Brig. Gen. Garba was born on July 16, 1956 and had his elementary and primary education in Lere before proceeding to Government College Kaduna for his secondary education from January 1970 to June 1974 where he obtained West African School Certificate (Grade One).
As a brilliant young boy, he was offered admission into the School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in July 1974 where he successfully completed and pass IJMB exam in July 1975. This earned him automatic admission into the institution’s Faculty of Engineering to read Mechanical Engineering. He completed his undergraduate studies in record time as he graduated and obtained Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June 1978. He later proceeded for NYSC programme in Lagos State between 1978 and 1979.
Mohammed had keen interest in serving his fatherland and particularly in the military. He was subsequently commissioned into the Nigerian Army in July 1979 as a Direct Short Service Commissioned Officer on March 31 1979.
He attended military training courses both at home and abroad during his service life such as DSSC Course 4 at Nigerian Defence Academy (July to Dec. 1979); Young Officers Technical Course at Nigerian Army School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering (July 1981 to Sept. 1981); Armament Instructors Officers Course at Ahmednagar, India from November 1, 1982 to January 22, 1983; Junior Staff Course (Army) at AFCSC Jaji (Sept. 3 1984 to Jan. 29 1985); Workshop Company Commander’s Course at School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering (Jan. 17 1987 to May 22 1987); Technical Staff Officers Course at Military College of Engineering, Rawalpindi, Pakistan from January 12 1991 to November 28, 1991 and the United Nations Senior Leadership Program in April 2005.
Similarly, Brig. Gen Garba held several appointments while in service. On his commission as a lieutenant, he was posted to defunct Engineers Base Workshop Ikeja, Lagos as Officer Commanding, Ancillary Company. He was the Staff Officer Grade 2 (Mechanical) at Directorate of Quartering and Engineering Services, Army Headquarters from January 1, 1983.
However, he was subsequently appointed Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Military Governor of Sokoto State, Brig. Gen. (then Colonel) Garba Mohammed from August 1985 to August 1986.
In December 1986, he was posted back to HQ Nigeria Army Engineers as Staff Officer 2 (Mechanical). After he was promoted to the rank of major in March 1988, Mohammed was assigned to Second Division Workshop NAEME, Ibadan as Production Officer from 1988 to 1990.
He was at different times the Commanding Officer at the following Brigade Workshops: 31 Artillery Brigade, Abeokuta (1990); 7 Mechanised Brigade, Sokoto (1991) and 4 Mechanised Brigade, Ilorin (1992). On his completion of Technical Staff Course in Pakistan, General Garba was posted to Command Workshop,Victoria Island, Lagos as Commander in 1992. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on March 3, 1993.
He was Commander, Nigeria Contingent Workshop in Liberia between 1992 and 1995. On his return from Peace-keeping in Liberia, he was appointed Chief Instructor, Mechanical Engineering Wing at the Nigeria Army School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering from 1995 to 1998.
Mohammed was promoted to Colonel in March 1998 and posted to Department of Army Logistics at Army Headquarters in Lagos as Colonel Equipment Manager. He was transfered to the 94 Division EME as Commander in February 2001 and was moved back to Yaba, Lagos in July 2003 after his promotion to Brigadier General as Commander, Technical Group EME. He was also Director, Equipment Management (Army) at the Army Headquarters between 2004 and 2006. He was appointed Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering in Auchi, Edo State from July 2006 to January 2009.
In January 2009, Brigadier General Mohammed Garba rose to the apex of command in his corps when he was appointed the Commander, Corps of Electrical & Mechanical Engineers and was due to be decorated with his new rank of Major-General in December this year.
Mohammed was a recipient of several medals of honour owing to the 30-years of outstanding service to the nation. He has been awarded medals such as Force Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star and the ECOMOG Medal.
He was also a registered Chartered Engineer of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), a Corporate Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers as well as a Chartered Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
Brig. Gen. Garba has earned several commendations for his dedicated service, the latest of which is the Ministry of Defence Commendation for his service as the Chairman of the Committee on the Formulation of the Process for the Optimisation of the Usage of Facilities and Capacity Building in the Armed Forces. He has also been commended for his service as a member of the Federal Government Committee for the Revitalisation of Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
Indeed, General Mohammed Garba has served the nation credibly and without blemish, and also served the Nigerian Army with diligence since he was commissioned in 1979.
He was survived by his aged father and three sons, Abubakar, Umar Faruq and Aliyu. May his gentle soul rest in peace, Amin.