Mohammed Chris Alli was a Nigerian Army major general who served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1993 to 1994 under General Sani Abacha’s regime and was military governor of Plateau State Nigeria from August 1985 to 1986 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. He was also appointed as the interim administrator of Plateau State in 2004 during a crisis that claimed thousands of lives. He died in 2023 at the age of 78. This article will explore his life story, achievements, challenges, and legacy.
Chris Alli Early Life and Education
Chris Alli was born on December 1, 1944, in Koton-Karfe, Kogi State, Nigeria. He came from a military background, as his father was a World War II veteran who served in the Royal West African Frontier Force. He grew up in Benin City, where he developed a passion for the military and a sense of discipline.
He attended the Nigerian Military School in Zaria, where he excelled in academics and sports. He later joined the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna, where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1968. He furthered his education at the Command and Staff College in Jaji and the National Defence College in Abuja, where he acquired strategic and leadership skills.
Military Career and Service to the Nation
Chris Alli had a remarkable military career that spanned over three decades. He served in various capacities in the Nigerian Army, including as the Director of Military Intelligence and as the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command Commander. He was also the Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia from 1996 to 1998, where he led the peacekeeping mission to restore stability and democracy in the war-torn country.
Alli was involved in several coups and counter-coups in Nigeria’s history. On February 13, 1976, he was investigated for involvement in the coup attempt that assassinated General Murtala Mohammed, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing. During the attempted coup against General Ibrahim Babangida by Major Gideon Orkar on April 22, 1990, he was the commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade in Kano. He played a crucial role in foiling the coup by instructing several army commanders to make counter-broadcasts, as he did himself.
After the coup in November 1993, when General Sani Abacha ousted President Ernest Shonekan, Alli was appointed Chief of the Army Staff. He held this position until August 1994, when Abacha sacked him for allegedly being disloyal and plotting against him.
In May 2004, Plateau State erupted in sectarian violence, which spilled over to Kano State. It was reported that over 50,000 people had died. President Olusegun Obasanjo declared emergency rule in the state and suspended Governor Joshua Dariye and the state assembly, appointing Alli as administrator. Alli quickly developed the Plateau Peace Program, involving dialogue between religious, ethnic and community leaders, and a statewide peace conference. He also gave an amnesty to holders of weapons and a reward for their turning in their arms. Alli’s measures successfully calmed the situation, and he returned to civilian rule in November 2004.
Alli is known for his distinguished military career and his contributions to the Nigerian Army. He was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) in 1994 for his service to Nigeria. He was also awarded the United Nations Medal for his service as the Commander of ECOMOG.
Personal Life and Net Worth
Alli was married and had children. He was a devoted family man who loved his wife and children dearly. He was also a man of taste and style, who enjoyed luxury cars and had a collection that included a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and a BMW 7 Series. He also owned a house in Abuja, where he lived in comfort and security.
Alli was estimated to have a net worth of over $10 million at his death. He made his fortune from his military career, investments, and businesses. He was a generous philanthropist who supported various causes and charities, especially in education, health, and peace.
Alli died on November 19, 2023, at the age of 78. He was buried with full military honors in his hometown of Koton-Karfe. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and other relatives and friends. He is remembered as a hero, a patriot, and a legend.