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Meet Lt. Col. Imam, first Nigerian Army’s professor

The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna in November 2023 announced the promotion of Lt. Col. Abubakar-Surajo Imam to the rank of Professor of Mechatronics Engineering.

Imam is said to be the first professor among serving personnel in the history of the Nigerian Army.

The promotion was announced by the Registrar of the Academy, Brig.-Gen. AM Tukur in Kaduna.

He said that the promotion was ratified during the NDA Council Meeting in September, and took effect from October 1, 2022.

The registrar said that the council’s decision was a reflection of the confidence and recognition of the contributions of Imam to the Department of Mechatronics Engineering of the Academy.

He said that the new professor has provided exemplary services and upheld the standard of excellence expected in his field.

“This recognition not only honours Professor Imam but also highlights the commitment of the Nigerian Defence Academy to acknowledging and rewarding outstanding contributions within its academic community,” he added.

Tukur further said, “On behalf of the Commandant and staff of the Academy, I sincerely congratulate you on your well-deserved promotion.

“It is expected that you will continue to work hard to justify the confidence.”

Who is Lt. Col. Abubakar-Surajo Imam?

Lieutenant Colonel Abubakar Surajo Imam was born on 22 Jun 76 in Kankia. He hails from Kankia Local Government Area of Katsina State. He attended Sultan Bello Primary School Kaduna from 1982 to 1987 and proceeded to Government College Katsina (GCK) for his Junior Secondary School from 1988 to 1991.

Upon completion of his first degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bayero University (BUK), Kano, Imam was granted commission into the Nigerian Army as a member of Short Service Combatant Course 32 (SSC 32) and assigned to the Nigerian Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. However, he later converted to the Regular Commission (RC).

Lt Col Imam has attended all courses commensurate to his rank and served in numerous units including 1 Base Workshop, Technical Group EME, HQ Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NAEME) Corps, DICON and presently Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.


Major Abubakar Imam holds the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bayero University, Kano, 2001.
  • Master in Mechatronics from Newcastle University, United Kingdom, 2009.
  • PhD in Mechatronics and Robotics from Newcastle University, UK in 2014.
  • Passed Staff Course, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, 2018.
  • Fellow War Collge, Army War Collge Nigeria, Abuja, 2023.

Lt Col Abubakar Surajo Imam has attended over 40 international workshops and numerous seminars and presented papers at several conferences in the United Kingdom, Spain, Egypt and the United States of America. Imam currently doubles as Head of, the Department of Mechatronics Engineering and Director Centre for Innovation and Creativity (CINOCRE) at the NDA.

He was promoted to the rank of full Professor of Mechatronics and Robotics effective October 2022. Several of Professor Imam’s innovative technological solutions, for both military and civilian applications, have already been deployed in the field.


During his tour of duty in NDA, Lt Col (Prof) Imam has through his Research and Development efforts enormously contributed towards enhancing the visibility of NDA amongst the Nigerian Universities.

A few of his contributions were spearheading the founding of the NDA Department of Mechatronic Engineering (MCE) under the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and the establishment of the Centre for Innovation and Creativity (CINOCRE).

The Centre’s vision is to serve as a platform to realize Nigeria’s Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) by promoting innovation and creativity in cutting-edge technologies relating to novel military/civil hardware and software solutions, thereby reducing Nigeria’s dependency on foreign technical solutions.

The core mandate of NDA-CINOCRE is organizing and conducting research and development programmes in mechatronics and robotics, electronic warfare, mechanical systems, agriculture, healthcare and the environment for national development. Prof Imam and his team have utilised the platform provided by the new Department and the Centre to develop numerous military and civil solutions. Some of these solutions include:

Modification and automation of the Nigerian Army Artillery guns, the 105 PH guns.

Combat Unmanned Ground Vehicles.

Smart Rockets and Missiles.

Several units of Comprehensive Mobile Field Kitchens for the Nigerian Army. The kitchens were deployed to various NA Super Camps.

Several units of Ultraviolet Light (UV) Walk-through Disinfection Chamber of the NA to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. All the units produced have been deployed to various NA formations across the country.

Several Touch-free Handwash and Body Temperature Stands as complementary solutions in the fight against COVID-19 solution.

A ventilator that won the JAIZ Bank First Prize Fight Back Challenge COVID-19.

Several units of Mobile Field bakery for the Nigerian Army.

Several units of Pedal-type Handwash Stations for NDA.

VIP Toilet on Wheels and Smart Urinals to solve the challenge of Open Defecation and urination during exercises and operations.

Modified Pulley Mechanism for Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI) Jaji.

School on Wheels is a solution towards reducing the number of Out of School Children (OOSC) in Nigeria.

Hospital on Wheels to solve the challenge of inadequate health services to people living in northeast Nigeria, where over one-third of the health facilities have been destroyed.

Mobile Field Laundry to help troops in the theatre maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Mobile Interlock Brick Machine that utilises 90 per cent naturally available raw material (laterite) to produce interlocking bricks with just about 8 per cent cement, and about 2 per cent water, to offer substantial cost reduction to owning a house in Nigeria.

Hybrid Electric-Petrol Five Wheeler Bike) to demonstrate the possibility of commercial-scale deployment of electric vehicles in Nigeria.

Motorised Groundnut Oil Extracting Machine to promote groundnut oil extraction among women in rural areas of Northern Nigeria, thereby improving their living standards.


Lt Col Imam is affiliated with the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) as an Examiner and Member Central Selection Committee for Master and PhD candidates respectively. He also has a research collaboration with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Defence Research and Development Bureau (DRDB), Abuja, Command Engineering Depot (CED), Buffalo Engineering Technology (BET) and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology (ADUSTECH) Wudil.


Books published:

  • a.Mechatronics for Beginners: 21 Projects for PIC Microcontrollers.
  • b.Introduction to Embedded Systems Design.
  • c.Sensors and Actuators for Embedded Systems.
  • d.Coding, Robotics and Drone Technology for Kids.
  • e.Field Manual for Drone Technology.


Imam is married to Maryam Munir and the union is blessed with four children, Khalid, Humaira, Muhammad and Deenah.


Abubakar enjoys reading, tinkering with systems, learning new ideas and listening to music.


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