Retired Brigadier General Benjamin Adekunle, popularly known as Black Scorpion, is dead. Adekunle’s wife, Folake, confirmed the development.
Folake said he died in Lagos on Saturday morning. He was 78.
Adekunle, who was a Colonel during the Civil War, served in the Nigeria Army between 1958 and 1974.
He 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.