Former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Alex Sabunduh Badeh, was shot dead along the Abuja-Keffi road on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

He was 61 years of age. 

Badeh was returning from his farm when gunmen ambushed his car and assailed him with a hail of bullets. 

Badeh was felled by a hail of bullets as he made his way home from his farm (Credit: Reno Omokri)
Badeh was felled by a hail of bullets as he made his way home from his farm (Credit: Reno Omokri)

A statement from the Airforce reads as follows: “It is with a heavy heart that we regretfully announce the unfortunate demise of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who died today, Dec 18, from gunshot wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.

“On behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the Nigerian Air Force, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, commiserates with the family of the late former Chief of Defence Staff over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants his soul eternal rest.”

Alex Badeh was born on January 10, 1957 in Vimtim, Mubi LGA of Adamawa State.

Badeh's early education

Badeh attended Vimtim Primary School and Villanova Secondary School.

Upon graduation from secondary school in 1976, Badeh proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy. 

He was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on January 3, 1977.

Badeh was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on July 3,1979. 

A career in flying

Badeh commenced his flying career at the 301 Flying Training School on the Bulldog Primary Trainer aircraft in 1979. 

Between 1981 and 1982, Badeh enrolled at the Vance Air Force Base in the United States Air Force, for an undergraduate course in Pilot Training. 

He was at the 301 Flying Training School (FTS) in Kaduna as a squadron pilot and later became an instructor pilot on the Bull Dog and DO-228 aircraft.

Goodluck Jonathan decorates Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh as Chief of Defence Officer in 2014 (Credit: Punch)
Goodluck Jonathan decorates Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh as Chief of Defence Officer in 2014 (Credit: Punch)
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Badeh attended the junior staff course at Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 1988.

Between 1995 and 1996 he attended the senior staff course in the same school. 

In 2005, Badeh attended the National War College Nigeria as a member of Course 14 and graduated in August 2006. 

The late Badeh bagged a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan. From the University of Ibadan, Badeh would go on to have a glorious career in the military's flying arm. 

He was promoted Air Vice Marshal on January 3, 2008. 

Official positions Badeh held

Between 2008 and 2009, Badeh served as Directing Staff at the National Defence College, Abuja, before becoming the Director of National Military Strategy at the same institution. 

Thereafter, he moved to Defence Headquarters as Deputy Director Training. He would later became the Director of Research at the Defence Headquarters. 

Badeh had a distinguished military career
Badeh had a distinguished military career
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From October 2010 to March 2012, Air Marshal Badeh moved to Headquarters, Nigerian Air Force as Chief of Policy and Plans.

In March 2012, he was appointed Air Officer Commanding Training Command, Kaduna.

Badeh also attended Safety International Institute at Teterboro in New York for a course in Simulator Recurrence, to sharpen and deepen his knowledge of flying. 

Serving in Goodluck Jonathan's government

Badeh served as President Goodluck Jonathan’s Chief of Air Staff from 2012 to 2014 and Chief of Defence Staff from January 16, 2014 to July 13, 2015. 

A month after 276 girls were kidnapped from their secondary school in the Chibok town of Borno State in 2014, Badeh told the world that the military knew where the girls were being held by the terrorists.

“The good news for the girls is that we know where they are but we cannot tell you, we cannot come and tell you military secrets here. Just leave us alone, we are working, we would get the girls back", he said.

Badeh and the military never got the girls back until President Buhari, who had defeated Jonathan in the 2015 election, fired Badeh and other military chiefs on July 13, 2015. 

Badeh slammed with corruption charges

Soon after they were fired, Badeh and other service chiefs were accused of diverting funds meant to equip soldiers battling terrorists in the Northeast, into their private bank accounts.

On January 15, 2016, President Buhari directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to “carry out further investigation into the misconduct established against Badeh and other retired and serving officers”.

Ex-Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh appears at the Federal High Court Abuja for alleged diversion of N3.9 billion
Ex-Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh appears at the Federal High Court Abuja for alleged diversion of N3.9 billion
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A 2016 statement from presidency spokesperson, Garba Shehu, read that “procurement processes (under Badeh and co) were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterized by irregularities and fraud”. 

Badeh was dragged to court and arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N3.9 billion.

Badeh was accused of using monies excised from defence budget to purchase choice property in highbrow Abuja, for himself.

On July 4, 2018, Badeh was re-arraigned by the EFCC on an amended 14-count charge bordering on money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, the EFCC closed its corruption case against Badeh after summoning 21 witnesses and after prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, filed a ‘no case submission’ against the retired Air Marshal. 

Badeh's legal team had concluded plans to open his defence at the next court date. They would have that opportunity no longer.