Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma GCON FSS psc (born 9 December 1938) is a politician and retired Nigerian army lieutenant general who played a key role in post independence military and political events in Nigeria. Danjuma amassed an enormous fortune through shipping and petroleum.[1]

Theophilus Danjuma
Theophilus Danjuma
Minister of Defence
In office
June 1999 – May 2003
Preceded byAbdulsalami Abubakar
Succeeded byRabiu Musa Kwankwaso
Chief of Army Staff
In office
29 July 1975 – 30 September 1979
Preceded byDavid Ejoor
Succeeded byIpoola Alani Akinrinade
Personal details
Born (1938-12-09) 9 December 1938 (age 84)
Takum, Northern Region, British Nigeria (now in Taraba State, Nigeria)
Political partyPeoples Democratic Party
EducationNigerian Defence Academy
Military service
Branch/service Nigerian Army
Years of service1960–1979
Rank Lieutenant general

He was Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1978. He was also Minister of Defence under President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration.[2]

Early life Edit

Danjuma was born in Takum, Taraba State (formally Gongola), Nigeria to Kuru Danjuma and Rufkatu Asibi. Takum was mainly a farming community when Danjuma was young, and yams, rice, cassava, and beniseed were cultivated largely by families and clans in the community. His father was a hardworking peasant whose ancestors were all highly respected members of the community. Kuru Danjuma was a farmer who also traded in metal parts for farming implements and tools.[citation needed]

Theophilus Danjuma started his education at St Bartholomew's Primary School in Wusasa and moved on to the Benue Provincial Secondary School in Katsina-Ala where he was the captain of the school cricket 1st XI team; he received his Higher School Certificate in 1958. In 1959 Danjuma enrolled at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria (Ahmadu Bello University) to study history on a Northern Nigeria Scholarship. However, by the end of 1960, Danjuma had left the university to enroll in the Nigerian Army.[citation needed]

Military career Edit

Danjuma was commissioned into the Nigerian Army as second lieutenant and platoon commander in the Congo. In 1963, he joined a UN Peace-keeping force in Sante, Katanga Province in Congo, he was promoted to the position of a captain three years later. In 1966, Captain Danjuma was involved in the counter-coup with the 4th Battalion in Mokola, Ibadan General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was arrested in Ibadan, together with his host General Adekunle Fajuyi, by northern soldiers under the command of Major Theophilus Danjuma (as he then was). Both men were then whisked away and taken to a road side bush where they were both stripped naked and shot.[citation needed]

On the 29th of July 1966, Danjuma along with Murtala Mohammed, Buka Suka Dimka, Muhammadu Buhari, Sani Abacha, Musa Usman, Ibrahim Taiwo, Ibrahim Bako, Ibrahim Babangida among others participated in a bloody mutiny called "July Rematch" in retaliation to the killing of federal officials in Nigeria's first coup. Danjuma picked up Nigeria's first military Head of State General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and first military Governor of the former Western Region Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi (who was hosting Aguiyi-Ironsi at his residence in Ibadan) from the side of the road, as there were escaping an ambush orchestrated by Danjuma, Mohammed, Dimka, Buhari and others. Danjuma held them captive in the back of his car and drove off to an isolated area in Oyo state, where he ordered them to get out and shot them in cold blood. Although Theophilus Danjuma has denied claims that he was one of the masterminds of the needless coup d'ètat that saw the ruins of Nigeria and the death of over 3.5 million Eastern Nigerians, multiple evidence including a confession from his former aide-de-camp Sani Bello and A.B Umaru recalls the night of the ordeal in details during their interview with The Guardian News on the transgressions they participated in, remembering vividly sounds of gun shots Danjuma fired that would fatality end the live and reign of General Aguiyi-Ironsi and see the succession of Yakubu Gowon as Head of State of the Republic of Nigeria.

In 1967, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel at the start of the civil war campaign towards Enugu, which was captured later that year. In December 1967, he was appointed Commander of the Nigerian Army's 1st Infantry Brigade, a position he held till July 1968. Towards the end of the Nigerian Civil War, Danjuma led a battalion that freed Jaja Wachuku, first Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives as well as first Ambassador to the United Nations and first Foreign Affairs Minister, from detention by the Ojukwu government.[citation needed]

In 1970, Danjuma attended the International Court Martial in Trinidad and Tobago as Nigeria's representative, where he was appointed president of the tribunal in a case brought against members of a failed coup attempt in Trinidad and Tobago. Following his promotion to Colonel in 1971 he spent next two years with responsibility for court-martialling Army officers proven guilty of corruption and indiscipline. In 1975 he was promoted to Brigadier and the position of General Officer Commanding (GOC), and in the following year he became the Chief of Army Staff to the Head of State Olusegun Obasanjo. He played a prominent role in supporting the president in resisting the Dimka Coup in 1976.[3][4] He retired from the Nigerian army in 1979.[citation needed]

Later career Edit

Business Edit

Formed in 1979 by General TY Danjuma (Rtd), Nigeria American Line (NAL) began business and initially leased a ship called 'Hannatu' which traded between Lagos and Santos in Brazil when Nigeria's bilateral trade agreement had opened the sea routes to economies in the South American markets. NAL went on to win patronage from Nigeria's National Supply Company (NNSC) to bring in government goods . NAL's list of growing clients included DICON Salt (Nigeria), project cargoes for Iwopin Paper Mill, ANNAMCO and Volkswagen Nigeria. NAL became a member of AWAFC (American West African Freight Conference), Brazil-Nigeria Freight Conference and the Mediterranean Line (MEWAC). With the formation of the National Maritime Authority (NMA) IN 1987/88, the profile of NAL increased as NMA encouraged indigenous operators to claim their share of internationally traded cargo involving Nigeria. NAL began with a core indigenous staff of about 12 in 1979. In 2009, staff in NAL-COMET were closer to 250 including approximately 12 expatriate staff members. From the Lagos office the NAL-COMET Group has opened branch offices in Port Harcourt which serves Onne, Warri and Calabar seaports.[5]

COMET Shipping Agencies Nigeria Limited was established in 1984 by Danjuma, primarily to act as an agent for Nigeria American Line (NAL). COMET has grown and by the late nineties became one of the largest independent agents operating in Nigeria with experience in handling many types of vessels and cargo. In 2009 Comet handled over 200 vessels at the ports of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri. In 2005 NAL-COMET acquired a roll-in-roll-out port (RORO) in Lagos which makes it the largest independent port operators in Africa.[citation needed]

South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) is a Nigerian oil exploration and production company that was created in 1995 by General T. Y. Danjuma. The ministry of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria awarded the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 246 to SAPETRO in February 1998. The block covers a total area of 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi). SAPETRO partnered with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Ltd (Petrobras) to start prospecting on OPL246. Akpo, a condensate field was discovered in April 2000 with the drilling of the first exploration well (Akpo 1) on the block. Other discoveries made on OPL 246 include the Egina Main, Egina South, Preowei and Kuro (Kuro was suspended as a dry gas/minor oil discovery). In 2004, SAPETRO's subsidiary in Benin won through a competitive tender process an oil exploration contract covering 550 square kilometres offshore from the Republic of Benin. In February 2005, SAPETRO was granted Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 and thereafter the Federal government backed in through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In June 2006, SAPETRO divested part of its contractor rights and obligations to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). SAPETRO produced its "first oil" (condensate) on 4 March 2009. In December 2009 SAPETRO donated a new state of the art medical centre to the Nasarawa State University. The medical centre, to be known as South Atlantic Petroleum Medical Centre would be available to serve the University, the local and neighbouring communities.[6]

NatCom Development & Investment Limited Nigerian business tycoon, Gen. TY Danjuma, was named Board Chairman by the NatCom Development & Investment Limited "NatCom", trading as ntel. The announcement was made on Wednesday, July, 2016 following General Danjuma's inaugural board meeting. ntel commenced commercial operations of its 4G/LTE-Advanced network on 08-04-16 in Lagos and Abuja. ntel is Nigeria's most advanced mobile 4G/LTE network providing superfast Internet Access that enables high-definition voice, data and video services. ntel's network is built on the 900/1800 MHz frequency bands which are the best propagation frequencies for the deployment of 4G/LTE technology. ntel's bouquet of services includes: National Bandwidth; International Voice Termination, International Bandwidth; Mobile and Fixed Communications services.[citation needed]

The company made its first on-net test data call in Lagos on Monday, January 18, 2016 and followed this with its first on-net Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) call in Lagos on Thursday, February 25, 2016. Commercial operations commenced on Friday April 8, 2016.[citation needed]

Politics Edit

Since 1999 Danjuma has played an active role in Nigerian politics, some of his key appointments have been:

  • 1999 Appointed as Minister of Defence to President Olusegun Obasanjo's Cabinet
  • 2003 Appointed as Chairperson for investigative committee on the Warri conflict
  • 2010 Nominated as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan

While in Office, Gen TY Danjuma sought to curb the politicisation of the military, and was a firm supporter of democracy and the Rule of Law. He also oversaw the renaming of all Nigerian barracks and cantons from those of civilian or living persons. He was also widely known to be an avid opponent of President Obasanjo's attempts in 2006 to engineer a way that would enable himself and state governors to serve more than two consecutive terms.[citation needed]

Danjuma serves as Chairman of the Victims' Support Fund Committee, supporting the victims of terror such as the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. On 16 July 2014, in a speech at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Danjuma "told President Jonathan that Boko Haram insurgents appear to be having the upper hand, as they choose where to strike and capture territory ... Danjuma said the battle to win the insurgency war has already taken too long."[7]

Philanthropy Edit

In December 2008, the TY Danjuma Foundation was created in Nigeria.[citation needed]

The Foundation's principal aims are to provide durable advantages through the implementation of development programs. The Foundation plans to operate more as a philanthropic organisation rather than simply as a charity. This would allow for the foundation to seek out other deserving causes and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to partner with and make grants available.[citation needed]

The TY Danjuma Foundation seeks to alleviate poverty in communities by providing basic amenities, education for children and young adults while also providing free medical care for indigent people. Currently, US$500,000 has been given out as grants to NGOs working to relieve suffering in Danjuma's home state of Taraba. Taraba is historically one of Nigeria's most impoverished states, compounded by the absence of a health service which catered for the masses. Furthermore, the state has the highest case of river blindness and other debilitating illnesses.[8]

The TY Danjuma Foundation is currently partnering with over 50 NGOs throughout Nigeria, and with the support and co-operation of 36 state governors. One of the many NGOs which is being supported by the Foundation is CASVI working in Takum, Wukari and Donga. CASVI's main area of expertise is on the provision of free eye care services such as the treatment of river blindness in Wukari, Ibi and Donga.[9]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "South Atlantic Petroleum Limited". MBendi website. MBendi Information Services (Pty) Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
  2. ^ "Military revenge in Benue". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 9 June 2007.
  3. ^ "The Dimka Coup of 1976". Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Nigeria Exchange News: General TY Danjuma's Mea Culpa". Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Nalcomet Website". Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  6. ^ "The South Atlantic Petroleum Website". Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  7. ^ Isiaka Wakili (17 July 2014). "Nigeria: TY Danjuma to Jonathan – Boko Haram War Taking Too Long (Page 1 of 2)". Daily Trust – AllAfrica. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  8. ^ "All Africa News: Ty Danjuma Foundation – Inside Africa's Biggest Foundation..." Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Danjuma Foundation Website". Retrieved 16 November 2010.

Further reading Edit

  • Barrett, Lindsay. (1979). Danjuma, the Making of a General (biography; Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension).