Civil War hero, ‘Black Scorpion’ Benjamin Adekunle, dies at 78

Benjamin AdekunleRetired Brigadier General Benjamin Adekunle, popularly known as Black Scorpion, is dead.

His wife, Folake, confirmed he died in Lagos on Saturday morning.

He was 78.

Adekunle was born in Kaduna. His father was a native of Ogbomosho, while his mother was a member of the Bachama tribe. He underwent secondary education at the Government College, Okene (in present day Kogi State).

He enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958 shortly after completing his school certificate examinations.

Adekunle, who was a Colonel during the Civil War, was compulsorily retired in 1974.

He was the Commanding Officer of the 3 Infantry Division of the Army, which fought at the Atlantic Theatre.

Adekunle, without a formal approval of the leadership of the Army, changed the Division’s name to 3rd Marine Commando, which was known to be the “best fighting machine of the Nigerian Army”.

With one of the famous operations in the heartland of Biafra, the proposed movement of the Commanding Officer’s operational plan looked like a scorpion and since he used a black marker, European journalists who saw the map described it as: “Operation Black Scorpion.”

Not only did Adekunle become the face of the 3 Marine Commando Division, a black scorpion was used as the logo of the division during the war.

Those who provided him support during the war included then Lieutenant Colonels Godwin Alabi-Isama (his Chief of Staff) and Alani Akinrinade.

The other strong factor in the team was Major Isaac Adaka Boro.

Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo was called to take over from Adekunle after a move that caused the death of a lot of Black Scorpion’s men.

He was believed to have suffered post traumatic stress, though not officially proven. Obasanjo was Commanding Officer of the 3 Marine Division when Biafra surrendered.