The touching story of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the first African to wear the Military Cross

The touching story of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the first African to wear the Military Cross

- Francis Adekunle Fajuyi was the first military governor of the former Western Region, Nigeria

- Fajuyi was awarded the Military Cross for actions in North Katanga and saving his unit from an ambush in 1961

- He was assassinated by a coup team led by Major T. Y Danjuma on July 29, 1966, at Ibadan

The life of Francis Adekunle Fajuyi (June 26, 1926 – July 29, 1966) a Nigerian soldier from Ekiti state who was the first military governor of the former Western Region, Nigeria, was replete with bravery and enviable leadership skills.

Initially a clerk, Fajuyi of Ado Ekiti joined the army in 1943 and as a sergeant in the Nigeria Signal Squadron, Royal West African Frontier Force, was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1951 for assisting to thwart a mutiny in his unit over food rations.

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Fajuyi was trained at the Eaton Hall Officer Candidate School in the United Kingdom between July 1954 and November 1954, during which time he was short-service commissioned.

In 1961, as the 'C' Company commander with the 4 battalion, Queen's Own Nigeria Regiment under Lt. Col. Price, he was awarded the Military Cross for actions in North Katanga and saving his unit from an ambush.

Fajuyi, after completion of Congo operations, was made the first indigenous commander of the 1st battalion in Enugu, a position he held until just before the first coup of January 1966, when he was posted to Abeokuta as garrison commander.

Fajuyi was appointed the first military governor of the Western Region when Major General Ironsi surfaced as the new Commander-in-Chief on January 17, 1966, the then head of state and supreme commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

Regrettably, he was assassinated by a coup team led by Major T. Y Danjuma on July 29, 1966, at Ibadan, along with General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, who had arrived in Ibadan on July 28, 1966 to address a conference of native rulers of western Nigeria.

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The gory usurpation of the civilian regime of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa's administration had taken place six months earlier in which Balewa and other top government functionaries, especially of northern Nigerian extraction, were murdered.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state on Thursday, April 12, threw his weight behind the recent statement by a former Chief of Army Staff, Theophilus Danjuma, which accused the Army of colluding with armed bandits and a called for self- defence by citizens.

Legit.ng gathered that Ishaku disclosed this when he hosted the probe panel set up by the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general, to investigate the recent allegation made against the Nigerian Armed Forces by the elder statesman.

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Source: Legit.ng

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