The death has occurred of Air Vice Marshall Mukhtar Muhammed (rtd), a former military governor of old Kaduna State (1977-1978).
He died on Sunday night at the age of 73, according to his younger brother, Aminu Dalhatu who told Daily Trust that the late Muhammad died in a hospital in London after a protracted illness.
Dalhatu said the remains of his elder brother would be returned to Nigeria tomorrow for burial.
The late AVM Muhammad was the Wazirin Dutse, Jigawa State and chairman of the first private FM station in Kano, Freedom Radio.
Late Muhammad was born on November 11, 1944 in Dutse, the present capital of Jigawa State. He attended primary school in Duste, started secondary school in Birnin Kudu and later went to Barewa College, from where he joined the Nigeria Air Force and rose to the rank of Air Vice Marshall before he retired from the service.
Apart from serving as military administrator of the old Kaduna state, Muhammad was a member, Nigerian Military Supreme Council and a federal commissioner of works and housing.
AVM Mukhtar Muhammed is survived by a wife and seven children.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has described Mukhtar Muhammed as one of the finest military officers he had ever known.
“AVM Mohammed was so passionately committed to his principles and beliefs that he had to leave his military career earlier than expected on account of those principles. Very few Nigerians are ready to lose their jobs or offices on account of their beliefs, but the late Mohammed was an exception to this ugly reality of Nigeria, a society where public office holders respect power more than principles,” Buhari said yesterday.
The president, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, also described the late Mohammed as a fountain of inspiration who loved the progress of Nigeria at all times, recalling “the significant role” played by the late Air Force officer in the realisation of his people for the creation of the present Jigawa State.
Also reacting, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, said the late AVM Mukhtar Mohammed was an accomplished patriot.
El-Rufai said, “He was our former military governor who worked diligently for the peace and harmony of our dear state. On behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, friends and associates. And May Allah grant his soul Aljanna Firdausi.”
Also, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it learnt of the death of Mohammad who was its deputy chairman, Board of Trustees, with shock and grief.
The ACF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Boy, said Mohammed was a foundation and committed member of the forum.
“He was a highly respected and principled air force officer, a gentle man who stood for justice, fairness and equity to all. His eloquence and resilience on due diligence while in the Nigerian Air Force and even in retirement placed him above his equals,” the forum said.
On his own, the Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, said in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Bello Zaki, that Mukhtar Muhammed was held in high regard by the military and the public because of his contribution in the service of his fatherland.
The governor urged members of the AVM Muhammed family and colleagues to be consoled that the deceased lived a fulfilled life of service to the nation and humanity.
The Borno State Governor and Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima, said of Mukhtar Muhammed’s death, “This is shocking. Coming few months after the death of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the demise of AVM Mukhtar Muhammad is yet another big loss to the northern voice. AVM was a sound and eloquent statesman who cared about the competitiveness of the north in all affairs of the country. It was out of his genuine passion for northern Nigeria that he invested in the establishment of freedom radio even when radio broadcasting is not known to be a lucrative business.”
Commenting also, a former General Manager of Freedom Radio, Malam Umar S Tudun-Wada, said, “Despite his military background, late AVM Mukhtar Muhammed was a humble person.”
The Chairman, Kano state chapter of Council of Ulama, Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil, described the late AVM as a patriotic person who worked tirelessly for the development of the country.
An Association Professor in the Department of Mass Communication of Bayero University Kano, Balarabe Maikaba, called on the Jigawa State and the federal government to immortalize the late AVM Mukhtar Muhammed.