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General Martin Luther Agwai

Gen Martin Luther Agwai

General Martin Luther Agwai CFR GSS psc(+) fwc is a retired Nigerian soldier.

Early life and education

General Martin Luther Agwai was born on November 8, 1948 in Kaduna, a city in Northern Nigeria. He hails from a Christian home and was the President of Fellowship of Christian Students at Government Secondary School, Zaria in 1967.

He graduated from the Nigerian Command and Staff College, British Army Staff College, Camberley and United States Army Armour School amongst others. He holds a Post Graduate diploma in Public Administration with distinctions from the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and National Defence University, Washington DC, where he obtained a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy. While at NDU, he won the Ambassadors Award for excellence in research and writing, making him the first foreigner to win the award.


He was commissioned into the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1972 and has held several positions including Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces and Director of Military Training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. He was the Nigerian Military Adviser at Harare, covering the whole of Southern Africa between 1993 - 1996. He was a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Command and Staff College Jaji - Kaduna, Nigeria. Before becoming the Chief of Army Staff he was the Deputy Military Adviser at United Nations Headquarters, New York. He was the Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces since 1 June 2006. Before that, he held several senior positions in the Nigerian Army, including being Chief of Army Staff. He served as the commander of the combined United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. General Agwai led one of the biggest peacekeeping operations in the world with approximately 20,000 troops and 6,000 police under his command.
In a statement made available on BBC, he was quoted to have said that: "We are not here to conquer anybody, We are not here to compel any peace. We are here to work with the Sudanese people - both the government and the parties to assist them to find peace. We are not here to impose peace. We are not here to fight anybody."


General Martin Luther Agwai retired from the Nigerian Armed Forces in December 2009. The Minister of Defence, Retired Maj-Gen Abbe said "the magnificent parade accorded Agwai is an indication that the nation is happy... the country is proud to produce a fine officer and a gentleman who gave a good account of himself. I am expressing the Commander-in-Chief’s pleasure, President Umaru Yar'Adua for the service he had rendered to his country and beyond and that is what an officer should be".