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

The first female army major general in Nigeria Aderonke Kale has died at the age of 84.

Kale died in London, United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 8.

She was also the first to command the Nigerian Army Medical Corps.

Kale was born on July 31, 1939. Her father was a pharmacist while her mother was a teacher.

She trained as a medical doctor at University College, which later became the University of Ibadan. Kale then specialised in psychiatry at the University of London. She was inspired to pursue psychiatry by Thomas Lambo, Africa’s first professor of psychiatry. She worked briefly in Britain and returned to Nigeria in 1971.

A year later in 1972, she joined the Nigerian Army. She was a colonel and deputy commander of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps by 1990. She was later promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, becoming the first female general in West Africa. Kale was then promoted to major-general in 1994 and became the first Nigerian woman to achieve that rank. She was also the first female major-general in West Africa.

Kale retired from the Army in 1997. She was married to Professor Oladele Kale, a distinguished professor of preventive and social medicine, and was a mother of five sons. One of her sons Yemi Kale became statistician-general of Nigeria.

In 2011, shortly after the introduction of females into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) programme, the female hall of residence was named after Kale.

National president of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), Ambassador E. O. Okafor, on behalf of the national executive committee and the entire AANI family mourned her in a statement on Thursday.

“The burial arrangements will be announced by the family. However, the National President conveys his sincere condolences to members of her family, AANI and the entire nation over this irreparable loss. AANI and indeed the nation will continue to remember the remarkable legacy of the iconic legacy of the late Major General Aderonke Kale (rtd) mni, who had been a trailblazer in Nigeria’s medical and military history. May her gentle soul continue to rest in peace, Amen,” the statement issued by the group’s national publicity secretary Brigadier General S. K. Usman (rtd) said.

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