Commodore Jamila Malafa – Nigeria
Commodore Jamila Abubakar Sadiq Malafa had dreams of becoming a nurse before joining the Nigerian Navy. In 1988, after a friend convinced her to join the Navy to her trepidation as she knew nothing about the military. She initially ran away from her training camp and was brought back where her hair was cut and she slowly assimilated into military life. When her training was complete, she informed her superiors that she wanted to return to school and was allowed to do so due to her rank of officer.
Presently, Commodore Malafa holds the position of Deputy Director Civil Military relation (Law support) making her in charge of the law department at the headquarters. Commodore Malafa remarks “Honestly, I never saw the profession as a male-dominated institution or any of its activities as challenging that will make me have a change of mind because I love what I am doing; well, we are given the same training with the men, and we are expected to do whatever they can do. I was among the first set to be commissioned as Mid Ship Men.”
Commodore Malafa hopes to encourage other women to join the Nigerian military, however, so far hasn’t had much luck. She confers, “It is sad because now I am the only female officer from the core north and the most senior in the Navy profession. I had to extend my stay when I was told that a woman from Zamfara was interested and was coming over to Sokoto for the exams, and I was ready to allow her to write the exams alone… but she never turned up. I also went on air to call on our women to join, but that did not change that perception up till date. The military is a profession you can join and still have a life, a home and a family.”