Tributes pour in for Bali at Service of Songs

By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

Tributes poured on Monday night at the Service of Songs in honour of the late Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff, General Domkat Bali, at the Church of Christ in Abuja.

Top military officers and other prominent Nigerians eulogised the late General, who was described as one of the finest military officers the country has produced.

Family members also relived the lifetime of the eminent soldier who rose to the pinnacle of his career in 1984 as Defence Minister.

Bali’s widow, Esther, said her husband lived a life that should be celebrated and not to be mourned.

She said Bali lived the later part of his life in service to God and humanity.

According to her, Bali, who was also a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) between 1984 and 1985 and the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) of 1985 to 1990, died peacefully in an Abuja hospital, two weeks after they returned from Germany. He was 80.

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President Muhammadu Buhari condoled with the family in a statement by his spokesperson Garba Shehu.

The President described the late General as “a man with records of bravery and patriotism”.

He said Bali’s records would inspire young military officers, adding that his foundation would always be remembered.

A close friend of the late General, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, said family members, associates and other dignitaries had no reason to feel sad or mourn.

“We are sure that General Bali is with the Lord. So, he is really resting, and we have no reason to mourn. We thank God for his life; he lived a very good life and left a good memory,” he said.

Women affairs Minister Pauline Taline said the late Bali endeared himself to people with his uncommon humility and kindness.

Dignitaries at the occasion included the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin; his wife, Omobolanle; Chief of Naval Staff, Air Vice Marshal Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Mrs. Beni Lar.