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

The late Colonel Dahiru Chiroma Bako

Since 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

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.