Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on Saturday praised General Domkat Bali for averting what he said could have been genocide, 24 hours before the end of the Nigerian civil war.
He said that Bali’s loyalty and discipline saved the lives of hundreds of civilians by standing down the last assault planned to take place a day before the war ended.
Gown disclosed that he called Bali and instructed him to cancel the operation after all the preparations have been concluded on the final onslaught and he obeyed without any argument.
Bali was Artillery Commander during the civil war years and Minister of Defence between 1984 and 1990.
According to the former Head of State, who spoke at the 80 birthday ceremony of Bali at the Army Officers Mess in Abuja, “We owe Domkat Bali a lot for averting what would have been genocide by the Nigerian Army during the civil war.
“His loyalty and discipline saved the lives of hundreds of civilians who would have died in the final onslaught planned to take place 24 hours before the war ended. I called him and gave him the instruction to stand down; he obeyed without any question and that was how the war ended on ‘No victor, no vanquished note”.
Gowon further described Bali as faithful officer who rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of the military profession.
Also in his goodwill message, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, described the celebrant as the icon of the military profession who has made great sacrifice in the development of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, described Bali as a Grand General who served the country selflessly and deserves to be celebrated.