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General Benjamin Adekunle ‘Black Scorpion’ is Dead


General Benjamin Adekunle (rtd), popularly known as ‘Black Scorpion’ is dead.  According to family source, he died Saturday morning in Lagos.

Born in June 1936 in Kaduna, Adekunle served in the Nigerian Army from 1958-1974.

Gen. Adekunle served in the Congo crisis and the Nigeria civil war. He later assumed command of the Lagos Garrison as a substantive Lt. Col.

“When the Nigerian Civil War erupted in July 1967, Adekunle was tasked to lead elements which included two new battalions (7th and 8th) – to conduct the historic sea borne assault on Bonny in the Bight of Benin on 26 July 1968 (carried out by Major Isaac Adaka Boro’s unit).

“This happened after the federal government gained confidence of most south western ethnic groups as a direct result of Biafran push to mid-west state and probe into Western region. Adekunle was promoted to Colonel after the Bonny landing.

“ The 6th (under Major Jalo) and 8th (under Major Ochefu) battalions of the Lagos Garrison subsequently took part in operations to liberate the Midwest following the Biafran invasion of August 1967. The 7th (under Major Abubakar) stayed behind to hold Bonny. Because Major Jalo’s Unit was seconded to Lt. Col. Murtala Mohammed’s 2nd Division, Adekunle was left with only the 8th Battalion at Escravos.

“ He was therefore, protested to Army HQ and got the Lagos garrison upgraded to Brigade status through the creation of the 31 and 32 Battalions (under Majors Aliyu and Hamman, respectively). This formation, combined with elements of the Lagos garrison along the eastern seaboard, was officially designated the 3 Infantry Division.

However, Colonel Adekunle did not think the name “3 Infantry Division” was sensational enough nor did it project the nature of the unique terrain in which his men had to fight. Therefore, without formal approval from Army HQ, he renamed it the ” 3 Marine Commando (3MCDO).”

The “Black Scorpion” as he came to be known, was easily the most controversial, celebrated and mythologized figure in the war of attrition that laid the foundations for Nigeria’s contemporary crisis; and threw a wedge into the national fabric.”



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