Born on July 1947 in Gulu, Lapai LGA of Niger State, he had a secondary education in the Nigerian Military School, Zaria 1963 – 1967. H entered Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, and was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in 1968. He also attended Artillery Troop Commanders Course USSR, July 1970 – September 1971; Young Officers Course Nowshera, Pakistan, July – December, 1972, Technical Gunnery Course Larkhill, Salisbury, UK, May – August, 1975. Field Artillery Officers Advanced Course, Forstill, Oklahoma, USA June 1977 to February 1978; Command and Staff College, Jaji August 1978 to September, 1979 and Regiment Battalion Commanders Course, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji in 1981.
He has held the following commands and postings: Troop Commander, second Field Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, November, 1968 – September 1969. Commanding Officer, second Field Artillery Regent (Rear) Ibadan, September 1969 to July 1970. Battalion Commander, Oyo September, 1971 to October, 1973. Instructor/Chief Instructor Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Kaduna 1974 to August, 1976; Commanding Officer, Commander, Heavy Artillery Regiment, September, 1976 to April 1980; Company Commander 82 Infantry Battalion UNIFIL, Lebanon. May to December, 1980; Commanding Officer, 342 Support Regiment, Zaria 1981 to 1983, Deputy Defence Adviser, Nigerian Embassy, Moscow 1983 – 1986 and Commander Officer, Short Service Course NDA Kaduna, December, 1987 from where he was appointed Military Governor of Benue State.
Col. Garba is married to Fatima with children. His hobbies are squash. Basketball, table tennis, swimming and reading.