John Nanzip Shagaya

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John Nanzip Shagaya
National Senator
In office
May 2007 – May 2011
Preceded by Cosmos Niagwan
Succeeded by Victor Lar
Constituency Plateau South
Federal Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
Preceded by Mohammed Magoro
Succeeded by Lambert Gwom
Personal details
Born 2 September 1942
Political party People's Democratic Party (PDP)
Alma mater Nigerian Military School
Profession Retired Soldier, Politician
Military service
Service/branch Nigerian Army
Years of service 1964 – 1993
Rank Brigadier General

John Nanzip Shagaya is a Nigerian senator and former senior military officer who was elected in April 2007 to represent the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State as member of the Nigerian Senate for Plateau South.[1] He ran for reelection in April 2011 on the Labour Party (LP) platform, but was defeated by Victor Lar of the PDP.[2] As a non commissioned officer (NCO) with the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron in Abeokuta, he participated in the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966.


John Shagaya was born on September, 2nd 1942 to Mallam Sikji Miri Wazhi (alias SHAGAYA) and Mrs. Maryamu Zwancit. He attended Junior Primary School at Nyer, and Sudan United Mission Primary School, Langtang (1952–1959). He studied at the Nigerian Military School Zaria 1960-1964.[3]

Military career[edit]

After graduation, Shagaya was posted to the Nigerian Army Corps, then posted to 3 Marine Commando when he gained his commission as Second Lieutenant. He participated with the Marine Commando in the Nigeria Civil War (1967–1970). Later appointments included Grade Three staff officer Nigeria Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Director of Cadets, Nigerian Defence Academy, Director of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Brigade Commander, 9 Mechanised Infantry Brigade, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, and General Officer Commanding, 1st Mechanised Infantry Division[3]

Under the Military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, Shagaya was Federal Minister of Internal Affairs, a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council and a member of the Police Council. He also served as chairman of the committee set up in 1987 to decide on Nigeria's membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Shagaya was involved in drafting the main protocols for the Economic Community of West African States. As a member of the National Boundary Commission, he helped resolve disputes with Benin and Chad.[3]

John Nanzip Shagaya was appointed Field Commander in the ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force in Liberia in September 1993, relieving Major General Tunji Olurin.[4] On November 17, 1993, General Sani Abacha became head of state after a military coup. Abacha distrusted Brigadier John Shagaya and other "IBB boys" loyal to Babangida.[5] Within a few days, Shagaya was recalled from Liberia, demoted from Major General to Brigadier General and then retired from the army.[6]

Participation in the Nigerian Counter Coup of July 1966[edit]

Shagaya, then a Corporal with the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron in Abeokuta, was one of the many soldiers of northern Nigerian origin (including 2nd Lieutenant Sani Abacha, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako, Major Theophilus Danjuma, Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Muhammed, and Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida among others), who staged what became known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 because of grievances[7] they felt towards the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi's government which quelled the January 15, 1966 coup.

Civilian activities[edit]

John Shagaya was Director of Lion Bank (Nigeria) between 1998 and 2003.[3] John Shagaya was a foundation member of the United Nigeria People's Party (UNPP), running unsuccessfully for the Senatorial seat of Plateau South in 1999 elections. Before the 2003 elections he joined the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), but was defeated again.[8]

Senate career[edit]

John Nanzip Shagaya was elected as Senator for Plateau South in April 2007, running for the PDP.[1] His election was challenged, and nullified by the elections petition tribunal, but in December 2008 a Court of Appeal in Jos overthrew this decision and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Shagaya.[9]

In June 2009, Shagaya warned that offering an amnesty to the Niger Delta militants might not end the violence. The militants might hide their best weapons, and return only disused and damaged ones.[10] In an interview in October 2009 he defended the various military interventions since Nigeria gained independence, and stated that the influence of generals in politics since 1999 simply reflected their training and discipline.[11]


  • John Nanzip Shagaya (1990). The Internal Affairs Ministry: an overview. Alfa Communications. ISBN 978-30993-0-2. 
  • John Nanzip Shagaya (2003). Governance in Nigeria: the IBB era, an insider's view. Viewpoint Communications Ltd. ISBN 978-33747-5-3. 


  1. ^ a b "Sen. John Nanzip Shagaya". National Assembly of Nigeria. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  2. ^ "Lar beats Useni, Shagaya to Senate...Dariye clinches ticket too". Daily Trust. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d "PROFILE OF SENATOR DR. JOHN SHAGAYA OFR". Senator John Shagaya. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  4. ^ Tony Iyare (4 August 2009). "Jos Rayfield, The General's Fortress". The Gleaner News. Retrieved 2009-12-12. [dead link]
  5. ^ Nowa Omoigui. "Nigeria: The Palace Coup of November 17, 1993" (PDF). Nowa Omoigui. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Still a Langtang Mafiosi". ThisDay. 2002-10-20. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  7. ^ Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966 - 1976). Algora. p. 97. ISBN 9780875867090. 
  8. ^ JOSHUA YAHAYA (March 19, 2009). "SHAGAYA:AN OFFICER UNGENTLEMANLY". NewsDiary. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  9. ^ Seriki Adinoyi (16 December 2008). "Appeal Court Affirms Shagaya's Election". ThisDay. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  10. ^ James Ume (June 28, 2009). "Why Amnesty Won't Work – Gen. Shagaya". Nigeria Daily News. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  11. ^ Chioma Gabriel (Oct 3, 2009). "Military incursion in politics a blessing, declares Shagaya". Vanguard. Retrieved 2009-12-12.