Hassan Katsina

  (Redirected from Hassan Usman Katsina)

General Hassan Usman Katsina (31 March 1933 – 24 July 1995) was a Nigerian statesman and military leader who was the Governor of Northern Nigeria following the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état. During the Nigerian Civil War he served as the Chief of Army Staff and later became the deputy Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.

Hassan Usman Katsina
Chief of Army Staff
In office
May 1968 – January 1971
Preceded byJoseph Akahan
Succeeded byDavid Ejoor
Governor of Northern Nigeria
In office
16 January 1966 – 27 May 1967
Preceded byKashim Ibrahim
Succeeded by
See list
Personal details
Born31 March 1933
Katsina, Northern Region, British Nigeria
(now Katsina, Nigeria)
Died24 July 1995(1995-07-24) (aged 62)
Kaduna, Nigeria
FatherUsman Nagogo
EducationBarewa College
Mons Officer Cadet School
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
AwardsIndependence Medal
Military service
Allegiance Nigeria
Branch/serviceFlag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg Nigerian Army
Years of service1956–1975
RankMajor General
Battles/warsFirst Congo War
1966 anti-Igbo pogrom
Nigerian Civil War

Early lifeEdit


Hassan Usman was born on March 31, 1933 in Katsina to the Fulani royal family of the Sullubawa clan. His father, Usman Nagogo, was the Emir of Katsina from 1944 to 1981. His grandfather, Muhammadu Dikko, was the 47th Emir of Katsina from 1906 to 1944.


Katsina was educated at Barewa College. He then proceeded to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria.

Military careerEdit

In 1956, Katsina joined the Nigerian Army.[1] As the military was still under colonial control, he trained at the Mons Officer Cadet School and the prestigious Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.[2] Following independence, Katsina rose through the ranks of the military. He was viewed as a prominent and senior Northern military officer, with links to the ruling class.

Military commandEdit

Title Unit Location
Platoon commander 2nd Battalion Kaduna
Intelligence officer United Nations Operation in the Congo Congo (during the Congo Crisis; received the Congo Medal)
Company commander 5th Battalion Kano
Commanding officer Recce Squadron Kaduna
Chief of Army Staff Nigerian Army Nigeria (during the Nigerian civil war)

Military ranksEdit

Year Rank
1958 Second lieutenant
1959 Lieutenant
1961 Captain
1963 Major
1966 Lieutenant colonel
1968 Colonel
1969 Brigadier general
1971 Major general

Governor of Northern NigeriaEdit

Following the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, which resulted in the death of Premier Ahmadu Bello. Katsina was appointed Governor of Northern Nigeria. He served as a counter balance to the military hardliners led by General Murtala Mohammed, who wanted the region to secede following the death of Ahmadu Bello. He participated in the 1966 Nigerian counter-coup which overthrew General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and brought General Yakubu Gowon to power. He was later appointed a member of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria.

Regional power vacuumEdit

Katsina stepped into a new position that was in need of strong leadership to calm nerves as a result of the military coup and the death of prominent regional political leaders.


His government chose to carry on with the progress attained by Ahmadu Bello and brought aboard senior civil servants in the region who possessed administrative attributes that could continue with the progress. Key figures in his government included Ibrahim Dasuki; who later became Sultan of Sokoto, Ali Akilu; who later played a prominent role in the creation of states in Nigeria, and Sunday Awoniyi.[3] His administration also saw the rise of the Kaduna Mafia, a new class of young Northern intellectuals, civil servants, and military officers.

During his brief period of leadership, he led the Interim Common Services Agency, an agency which undertook the task of sharing the collective resources of the region in a new decentralized political and economic system of governance.[4] Katsina, also revitalized political linkage with the emirates as a support base for his new administration; and was close to re-introducing the old Native Administrative structures of the colonial system, where emirs played a major role.[5]

Anti-Igbo sentimentEdit

Katsina's government saw anti-Igbo sentiment intensify, resulting in the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom, during which several cities were engulfed in a series of violent killings in reaction to the coup which resulted in the death of Ahmadu Bello and the introduction of the unitary system of government. Many Northerners feared these developments were part of a conspiracy to create an Igbo-dominated nation state.[6]

Nigerian Civil WarEdit

In 1968, General Katsina was appointed Chief of Army Staff. In this position, he led the war effort by doubling the size of troops, blockade of supplies to Biafra, and utilised air support from the United Arab Republic. In 1970, he witnessed the unconditional surrender of Biafra to Nigeria.

Later life and deathEdit

Following the 1975 Nigerian coup d'état, General Katsina was retired from the military as the most senior experienced military officer at the time. After his retirement, he rejected several government appointments.[7] General Katsina was respected within the military class as he led the promotion of several young officers who later led the Nigerian military juntas of 1966–79 and 1983–98.

He was later involved in the formation of political organisations such as the National Party of Nigeria and the Committee of Concerned Citizens.[8] He was also the president of the Nigerian Polo Association, of which his father Emir Usman Nagago was life president; and pioneer of polo in Nigeria.

General Katsina died on 24 July 1995 in Kaduna.[9]


  1. ^ "Nowa Omoigui. January 15, 1966: The role of Major Hassan Usman Katsina". dawodu.com. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  2. ^ Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, politics and violence: Nigeria's military coup culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87586-708-3.
  3. ^ Roman Loimeier. slamic Reform and Political Change in Northern Nigeria, Northwestern University Press, 1997. p 24.ISBN 0810113465
  4. ^ Roman Loimeier. slamic Reform and Political Change in Northern Nigeria, Northwestern University Press, 1997. p 26.ISBN 0810113465
  5. ^ Emmanuel Ike Udogu. Nigeria In The Twenty-first Century: Strategies for Political Stability and Peaceful Coexistence. p 121-122.
  6. ^ Stephen Vincent. Should Biafra Survive? Transition No. 32, Aug., 1967, p 54.
  7. ^ Simone K. Panter-Brick. Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria. Routledge, 1978. p 118. ISBN 0-7146-3098-5
  8. ^ Michael S. Radu, Richard E. Bissell. Africa in the Post-Decolonization Era. Transaction Publishers, 1984. p 43. ISBN 0-87855-496-3
  9. ^ Burji, B.S.G. (1997). Tributes to man of the people. Burji Publishers. Retrieved 2015-04-13.

External linksEdit