Nigeria’s first female Major-General, Aderonke Kale (Rtd) has died at the age of 84.
She was said to have died in London, United Kingdom on Wednesday from an undisclosed ailment.
The president of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), confirmed Kale’s demise in a statement, describing her passing as an “irreparable loss.”
Born on 13 February, 1939, Kale was a Nigerian army psychiatrist who became the first female major-general in the Nigerian Army.
She rose to command the Nigerian Army Medical Corps.
Kale trained as a medical doctor at University College, which later became the University of Ibadan. She then specialized in psychiatry at the University of London. She was inspired to pursue psychiatry by Thomas Adeoye 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. This was a very rare decision for women in those days, particularly those at such a high professional level.
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.
Her role was initially as chief psychiatrist to the army. Kale later became director of the entire Nigerian Medical Corps and was its Chief Medical Officer until 1996. This was the first time in the history of the Nigerian Army that a woman was given responsibility for the healthcare of all Nigerian soldiers at all levels in preparation for and during war. She retired in 1997.
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