Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Biography / Profile

Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was born on February 26th, 1937 in Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. A Major Genral during his days, Nzeogwu has been hailed as both a hero and a villain. 

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Age

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu would have been 84 years old, if he were alive today. May his soul rest in peace.

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Early Life

Nzeogwu was born to Igbo immigrant parents who lived in Kaduna. He got the name “Kaduna” from his fellow military officers because of his love for the town. He attended Saint Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Kaduna for his elementary education and for his secondary education attended the competitive Saint John's College in Kaduna, where he became close friends with Christian Anufuro.

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Career

Nzeogwu was one of the post-independence Nigerian military officers who got trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. Later on, he became the Chief Instructor at the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna and the first Nigerian Officer in charge of the Field Security Section (FSS) of the Nigerian Army from 1962 to 1964. In his role at the FSS, he was involved in the vetting of army personnel, document safekeeping and counter intelligence.

The January 1966 coup came to represent the first notable incident that ruptured the fabric of the country after independence. This coup was called the “Igbo Coup” because prominent northern leaders such as Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and Premier Ahmadu Bello (Northern Region) were assassinated. The January 1966 coup also resulted in the murder of other chief politicians such as Premier Samuel Ladoke Akintola (Western Region) and Finance Minister Festus Okotie-Eboh.  Even though Nzeogwu was able to eliminate most of the prominent leaders, the coup was still a failure because he was unable to seize total control of the military force across the country. The coup served as an opportunity for senior military officer, General Aguiyi Ironsi, who stepped in and seized the opportunity of establishing himself as a vocal leader in the midst of the mayhem caused by the ongoing bloody coup. Below is an excerpt of Nzeogwu speech that he delivered via Radio Kaduna (in Kaduna) shortly after he found out that Ironsi had neutralized his efforts and those of his fellow coupon plotters in Lagos.

A few days later, President Nnamdi Azikiwe will relinquish power to the armed forces under Ironsi which leads to Ironsi assuming full leadership control of the country with the formation of the Supreme Military Council in Lagos. Nzeogwu will also relinquish control of Northern Nigeria to Major Hassan Katsina and later on surrendered to the new government in Lagos thus marking the end of Nigeria’s first coup.

Nzeogwu was at first detained at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos and was later transferred to a prison in the East. His detention, rather than death sentence, by the military government of Ironsi who is of Igbo descent displeased a lot of northerners. The northerners considered the sentencing a slap in the face and this decision by Ironsi’s government will lead to the July 29th, 1966 coup and his death.  Shortly after the death of Ironsi at the hands of northern military officers led by General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, extensive killings of Igbos in the north increased and the government of General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s new military leader, was very apathetic in their response. Eventually, the Igbos decided to secede with Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu declaring the free Republic of Biafra and ushering in the Nigerian Civil War.

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Personal Life

During the final week of July 1967, Nzeogwu was killed in an ambush laid by the Nigerian troops during one of his reconnaissance operations in Nsukka, Enugu State. His corpse was identified and later buried with full military honors at the Kaduna military cemetery. 

Nzeogwu's corpse was identified by Lieutenant Abdullahi Shelleng who ordered that it should be stored firstly in the University of Nigeria campus at Nsukka. However, by the time Shelleng arrived, Nzeogwu's eyes had been plucked out in what appears to have been a ritual mutilation. According to Shelleng the soldier who shot Nzeogwu was ironically Nzeogwu's former batman. The corpse was later sent to 1 division headquarters in Makurdi where the 1 division commander Colonel Mohammed Shuwa informed the head of state Major-General Gowon. Despite the fact that Nzeogwu was now technically an enemy soldier killed in combat against the Nigerian army, Gowon ordered that Nzeogwu's body should be flown to Kaduna and buried with full military honours – even as the war raged on in the Eastern Region.

Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Net Worth

His net worth is not available.

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