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Aguiyi-Ironsi, Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe

Aguiyi-Ironsi, Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe, 1924–1966, Nigerian military officer and political leader. An Igbo from Umuahia, he joined the Nigerian army in 1942 and received military training in England. Aguiyi-Ironsi headed the Nigerian contingent during the post-independence conflicts in Congo (Kinshasa) in the 1960s, becoming (1963) commander of the United Nations forces there. He was made head of the Nigerian army in 1965. Following a military coup in January, 1966, President Nnamdi Azikiwe was deposed and Aguiyi-Ironsi became head of a military government. He served only six months before being assassinated in another coup. He was succeeded by Yakubu Gowon as the military head of state. During his short term in office, Aguiyi-Ironsi suspended much of the constitution, but also removed certain restrictions on freedom of the press and attempted to unify the country's foreign policy.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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