A big loss, army chief Lagbaja mourns Nigeria’s first female major general Aderonke Kale

Major General Aderonke Kale RTD

Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja has expressed sadness over the death of Aderonke Kale, the first female major general in the Nigerian Army.

Kale died in London, United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 8. She was aged 84.

In a statement issued on Saturday by the army’s spokesman Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, Lagbaja described the death of Akale as a great loss to the Nigerian Army, describing her as a shining veteran who exuded unequalled commitment, diligence, and unquestionable loyalty to the army and the nation.

These qualities, according to Lagbaja, paved the way as she steadily rose through the ranks to become the first female major general in the Nigerian Army.

He added that her legacies in her selfless service to Nigeria and humanity would remain indelible in the hearts of many.

Lagbaja prayed for the repose of her soul and the fortitude for the family to bear the irreplaceable loss.

“Late Gen. Kale, renowned for reshaping the face of women and gender mainstreaming in the Nigerian military, was born into a family of professionals; her father was a pharmacist, and her mother was a teacher.

“The late general had her primary education in Lagos and Zaria and her post-primary education in St. Anne’s School, Ibadan, and Abeokuta Grammar School, respectively,” he said.

According to Lagbaja, Kale opted to study medicine and successfully gained admission into the University College, which later became the University of Ibadan.

Nigeria’s first female major general Aderonke Kale dies at 84

“After her graduation as a medical doctor, she proceeded to the University of London to specialize in psychiatry.

“General Kale worked briefly in Britain and returned to Nigeria in 1971 to join the Nigerian Army in 1972.

“Her competence as a psychiatrist was recognized in 1973, when she qualified as a Consultant Psychiatrist and in 1982 she became Chief Consultant,” he said.

The army chief said that in the course of her service from 1980 to 1985, her management acumen came to bear in her career when she became the commanding officer of the Military Hospital Ibadan.

“She thus had the distinction of being the first woman to command a military hospital in Nigeria.

“From 1985 to 1987, she performed the same feat in the Military Hospital, Enugu, and from 1989 to 1990 in the Military Hospital, Benin.

“With such vital experience, she was elevated to the position of Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Army Medical Corps and School, from 1991 until 1994,” he said.

Lagbaja added that in 1994, Kale was promoted to the rank of major general.

“She finally attained the peak of her career, when she became the Commander of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps.

“First time in the history of the Nigerian Army, that a female officer was entrusted with the crucial responsibility of health care for all Nigerian Army personnel and their families,” he said.