The Commander 134 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Lt Col Ishaya Aliyu Manga has won the 2022 SAEMA Combatant Officer of the year award, .
At the glamorous event held at NICON Luxury Hotels in Abuja on Wednesday 23 November 2022, the infantry officer was announced the winner of the Combat Officer of the year along with 18 other winners in various categories of the 2022 Security and Emergency Management Award (SAEMA).
The fearless, rugged, focused and courageous infantry officer who was inducted into the theatre of operations in the north east on January 20, 2013 when the activities of Boko Haram terrorists were heavily concentrated in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, has to his credit many conquests in the theatre of military operations across the country.
Born in Yola, Adamawa State, Manga who holds two Masters degrees (in Finance and in Defence & Strategic Studies), joined the Nigerian Army in February 2003 as a member of SSC 33, commissioned in August 2003 and was first posted to 3 Battalion Nigerian Army, Takum, to commence his military career.
He has been part of various high risk operations waged by the Nigerian Army against Boko Haram and their terrorist ilk, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). Manga has participated in almost all the designated military operations in the north east including, Op Restore Order 1 (2013), Op Boyona (2013), Op Zaman Lafiya (2013-2015), Op Crack Dawn I & II (2015), Op Rescue Finale (2016-2017), Op Deep Punch II (2018), Op Lafiya Dole (2015-2018 & 2020), Op Leopard Trail (2020), Op Tigar Claw (2020), Op Ayiso Tamunoma (2020), Op Fire ball (Oct 2020), JTF Op Hadin Kai North East (2021 to date).
When the activities of terror bandits in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria became a torn in the flesh of the state, Lt Col Manga and his Battalion operating under the 402 Special Forces Brigade, were drafted from their base in Borno to quench the mayhem. Upon their induction, they swiftly took the battle to the domain of the terrorists and decimated them to the point where the adversary no longer had freedom of action.
At the award ceremony Wednesday evening, Lt Col Manga stood tall as his brief citation was read to the admiration of the audience.
Among the audience at the colorful ceremony were the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Femi Adesina, President of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Dr Sirajo, Director of Defence Information, Maj Gen Jimmy Akpo, erstwhile Director of Defence Information, Maj Gen Chris Olukolade (rtd), former Army Spokesman, Brig Gen SK Usman (rtd), Executive Secretary of Center for Crisis Communication, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd).