Commodore Jamila Malafa was born in 1965 in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa state. She is Whona by tribe. She joined the Nigerian Navy in 1988 and was Commissioned as midshipman in 1990.
She was posted to Ojo in Lagos. While in Lagos, she went to School of Nursing to obtain her Midwifery certificate, her LLB at the University of Lagos, and LLM in constitution and criminal law, She then proceeded to Malta for her Masters in International Maritime Law institute University in 2009.
When asked how she has been able to push through in a male dominated area,She says, “Honestly, I never saw the profession as a male-dominated institution, or any of it activities as challenging that will make me have a change of mind because I love what I am doing.”
In a recent interview, she recalls that, “My most challenging task as an officer was when I was posted to Borokiri in Port Harcourt during militant days. I was posted there as the Chief of Command of the Medical Centre Port Harcourt because my Executive Officer went to Darfur. On the first day, I reported duty, the militants had taken over Port Harcourt, and were pursued by our officers. There was fire exchange that lasted for some time. I attended to all the wounded officers and the militants without any discrimination.”
With regards to encouraging more women from the North to join the Navy, she says, “In 2009, when I returned from Malta where I went for my LLM in International Maritime Law, the then Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral I. I. Ibrahim, included my name with the then Navy Secretary, Rear Admiral Jibrin, to go to Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara and other core northern states to encourage young women to join the profession. I even went to the Sultan’s palace and the office of the state’s Commissioner of Information for their support for the initiative to no avail. 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.”
When she was asked about balancing family and work. She insisted that even though she also had to take permission before getting married, the army was still the perfect job, as it also allowed her time to be with her family whenever she had to.