Shaljaba takes over as new Commandant General of Nigerian Legion Corps

Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaire performed its pull out and handover ceremony, where its pioneer Deputy  Commandant General (DCG) cum Coordinating Commandant General of the Corps for the past 14 years, Ernest Kumapayi Akoteyon was officially pulled out of service.

He handed over to  new Commandant General of Nigerian Legion Corps, Brigadier Gen. David  Buba Shajaba on Thursday 30th June, 2022.

The official handover ceremony took place at Nigerian Legion Headquarters, Legion House,Garki Abuja.

The occasion was attended by former top military notchers and Commandants of the Corps across the country. In his handover remarks, Ernest Kumapayi Akoteyon informed the audience that he is handing over the Corps over to a well trained military Officer who has been trained both in Nigeria and abroad, and would use his wealth of experience to lift the Corps to the highest height in line with the aims and objectives of its founding fathers.

During his remarks, Brigadier Gen. David Buba Shajaba, urged all members to cooperate and work together in support of his leadership so that Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaire will realize its objectives. He further stressed that at all levels of his studies, his research projects were written on welfare of the retired personnel, widows, dependants and little did he know that he will be given an opportunity to be in a position to implement such knowledge in to reality. He charged all to embrace the Corps and come up with brilliant ideas and projects that will change the face and predicament of veterans, widows, fallen heroes and their dependants generally.

Nigerian Legion Act Cap.N119 Laws of the Federation mandates the Nigerian Legion to establish the Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaire, to provide job opportunities in order to cater for their dependant’s welfare and other citizens.

Consequently, the Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaire was established in 2005, when an organization called ‘Just Obey’ came to register with Corporate Affairs Commission and needed the counsel and support of the Nigerian Legion to do so. Nigerian Legion under the then National Chairman, Col. Micah Gayya rtd, advised the ‘Just Obey Organization’ to join Nigerian Legion since their aims and objectives were similar.

Then the Corps started operations and now, it has almost covered the whole country.

The Deputy Commandant General (DCG) Ernest Kumapayi Akoteyon as its pioneer Commandant General for the past 14 years was pulled out of service in a grand style and handed over to the incoming Brigadier General David Shaljaba (rtd), whose appointment took effect from 12thJune 2022.

Nigerian Legion is currently witnessing tremendous changes with positive reformation brought about by its National Council and National Chairman, Major General AM Jubril, whose appointment was meant to bring sanity in the entire Nigerian Legion, when it was noticed that divisions and detractions became the order of the day in the entire system.

The National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion,  Major General A. M Jibril (rtd),  during the pull out and handover ceremony stated that, the Nigerian Legion  was celebrating the coming in of a vibrant and well articulate Deputy Commandant General Brigadier Gen. David Buba Shaljaba (rtd) as he assumed the leadership as coordinating Commandant General  of the Corps. Gen Jubril stated this while giving his welcome speech at the National Headquarters of the Nigerian Legion and Corps of commissioners at Area 3 Garki Abuja.

The National Chairman said, the Corps was going to use some experiences from the outgoing Deputy Commandant General, who has served the Corps selflessly for over 14 years. While expressing his gratitude as the corps of Commissionaire is lucky to have another vibrant, well articulated and experienced officer of the Nigerian Army in the person of Brigadier General David shaljaba (rtd), who is well experienced and vast in so many areas that will be much beneficial to the Corps.

The outgoing Commandant General of the Nigerian Legion Corps,thanked Almighty God for granting him the opportunity to serve the  Corps as  the  pioneer  Commandant of the largest Corps in Africa. He described the handover day as one of his happiest days in life as he equally registered his profound appreciation to Colonel Micah Gayya (rtd), the former National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, who midwife the union between Zone A and Nigerian Legion in 2008 in order to create the Corps of commissioners in 2014.

He also appreciated Comrade Femi Oguntade for nursing the mission in Zone A of the Corps as Lagos State Commandant. Also appreciating the current Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Maj.Gen A.M Jibril (rtd),  he stressed that he came into the Legion at the time  serious troubles and crisis almost rocked the foundation of the Nigerian Legion but he used his ingenuity to  successfully restore peace to the Corps. He further extended his appreciation to the management team  of the Corps and all its members nationwide for doing everything humanly possible to move the Corps to where it is today.

The outgoing Commandant General said, his dedicated team combined with the Directors and the State Commandants worked assiduously with passion and succeeded in spreading the Corps from Lagos, where the Corps started to have established across 25 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory FCT Abuja; and that covers 5 out of the 6 geopolitical zones of the federation with all their state commands and units.

Giving a breakdown of his achievements, Dr. Ernest Kumapayi Akoteyon mentioned the newest among the state Commands created so far is the Niger State Command, which had their first Passing Out Parade (POP) on the 29th of June 2022, the event was witnessed by the National Chairman. He further revealed that the Corps manpower at the moment has increased massively to over  three thousand members.  He narrated the achievements the Corps recorded under his tenure which include investment in infrastructural development of the Corp’s land nationwide.

 According to him, in the Southwest where the Corps started, they purchased 4 hectares of land in Ogun state command and also secured 2 hectares where they built Barracks and zonal coordinating office. Also, Oyo state government allocated above 6 hectares of land to the Oyo state command. Similarly, in South South Zones, three plots of land were bought and they built a befitting Barracks in River state while the size of the one in Edo state is even larger, approximately 6 plots with modern office complexes built. Delta state command purchased 10 hectares of land for Agro based business. The story is the same in other geopolitical zones where the corps is operational.

According to him, the fulfilment of the Corps mandate which is to cater for the welfare of the families of the fallen heroes and their dependants, have successfully being carried out through empowerment programmes such as skill acquisition for widows of the fallen heroes and their dependents and supported state commands where the Corps is in operation. He said the Corps during his tenure also purchased vehicles for patrol in some of the states.

He then asked all the members of the Corps to give support to his successor to work in unity with total cooperation. Akoteyon said the narrative of the corps will change under the leadership of the incoming Commander General being a retired Military General, who has been well trained at home and abroad in all security aspects and management. He added that the corps is blessed with a Military leader who has a sound military background, and he is confident that the quality of the corps will be better and better as he assumes duty. “The relationship that exists between the Corps and the Military formations and para military will be more cordial.”

The incoming commandant General, Brigadier General David Shaljaba (rtd) in his speech said he is happy and pleased to wear the shoes that have been worn by his predecessor because of the mark he has put in there. He said the Corps of Commissionaire and the Nigerian Legion has been his dream since he was a major. According to him, he wrote three books about the Nigerian Legion.

He also said that information has indicated that there are some areas of challenges within the Corps, but he said one thing to understand is that working collectively will make the Corps stand stronger, so he called on all officers to put all hands on deck for greater results to be achieved. The new commandant, Gen.Shaljaba pledged that his administration is going to establish the Corps in the Northeast and Northwest where the Corps is not in operation at the moment because he said, the region needs the Corps now more than ever. According to him, the Military is over stretched. Gen.Shaljaba also stressed that people don’t know about the Nigerian Legion out there simply because they don’t make required awareness campaign. He used the occasion to plead with all the members of the Corps to cooperate with him for its success and to take it to its desired level, he appealed.