160th Anniversary: Nigerian Army An Instrument Of National Unity, Development - COAS

2023-06-27 20:07:00

Independent Newspapers Nigeria

ABUJA - The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, has described the Nigerian Army (NA) as an instrument of national unity and development as it turns 160 years.

General Lagbaja stated this on Tuesday, at the Army Headquarters, Abuja during a Press Briefing to kickstart activities marking the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2023, scheduled to take place in the ancient city of Ibadan.

The COAS who was represented at the event by Major General Emeka Onumajuru, Chairman, Central Organizing Committee, NADCEL 2023 also said, the theme of this year's celebration is "Sound Administration as a Panacea for Effective Military Operations."

General Lagbaja disclosed that "2 Division, one of the NA's foremost divisions, is hosting this year's Nigerian Army Day Celebration. NADCEL is held annually on 6th of July to commemorate the day the Nigerian Civil War broke out. It also marks the day the very first shot of the war was fired at Garkem in the present-day Cross River State. The date is set aside by the Nigerian Army to remind us about our past and the need to address our problems peacefully rather than resorting to arms.

"It also reminds us of the slogan, 'No victor, no vanquished', the slogan that emphasizes our unity in diversity, the love we share in diversity, and brotherhood in diversity. NADCEL was first celebrated in 1978 in Lagos. This year's celebration marks the 160th year of the Nigerian Army's existence since its formation."

He further revealed that the week-long NADCEL is an important event due to its significance to National security peace, and unity.

According to him, "It offers the Nigerian Army an opportunity to take stock, assess its performances, interface with the public, and set goals for continued professional growth. This will enable it to better perform its constitutional roles and also compete favourably with other armies around the globe

"This year's celebration is scheduled to hold from 1-6 July 2023 to celebrate Nigerian Army's achievements. It will also showcase the Army's operational activities as well as its transformational strides in innovation, research and development, civil-military relations, and technological advancement. The celebration is also aimed at projecting the Army as an instrument of national unity and development as well as highlighting its capabilities

"I am delighted to intimate you of the activities lined up for this year's NADCEL. The first event is my briefing with you, my friends, which we are holding now. As customary, we always put God first in all we do because Victory is from God alone. Hence, a special Jumma at Prayers will come up on Friday, 30% of June 2023, in all NA Formations.

"This would be followed by a Golf Tournament at Tiger Golf Course Ibadan on Saturday, 1 July 2023. On Sunday, 2nd July 2023, Interdenominational Church Services will be held across all our formations and units, while on Monday, 3rd of July 2023, there will be NA Free Medical Outreach in all NA formations and public engagement visits to selected secondary schools in all NA Formations.

"On Tuesday 4th July 2023, I will pay a courtesy call, first to the Executive Governor of Oyo State and subsequently to the Olubadan of Ibadan. This will be followed by a Research Development Exhibition and a Themed Historical Exhibition at the Major General JM Inienger Sports Complex at Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment Odogbo, Ibadan, Oyo State.

"Thereafter there will be the commissioning of CIMIC projects at designated locations in Oyo State. This will dovetail into the Veterans Happy Hour at the Infantry Corps Centre Ibadan. The NADCEL Lecture will come up on Wednesday, 5th July 2023, at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, after which I shall interact with media Executives at the same Centre.

"Subsequently, we shall have the concluding part of the Research and Development Exhibition as well as the Themed Historical Exhibition at Major General JM Inienger Sports Complex at the Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment Odogbo, Ibadan, Oyo State The event would be capped up with a grand finale and Gala Nite on Thursday, 6 July 2023, at the Major General JM Inienge Sports Complex and the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, respectively.

"Additionally, throughout the celebration period, there would be broadcasts of goodwill messages on National TV from troops at the various frontlines and also from Nigerians in support of the Nigerian Army."

While narrating the historical background of the Nigerian Army, the COAS said, "The Nigerian Army, as an enviable national institution saddled with the constitutional mandate of defending Nigeria's territorial integrity, has evolved over 160 years. This rich history of the service dates back to 1863 when Lieutenant Glover of the Royal Navy formed a local force known as the "Glover Hausas." This local force eventually became part of a larger body established by Lord Fredrick Lugard in 1889 as the West African Frontier Force (WAFF).

"Since then, the force underwent several transformations with consequent changes in nomenclature viz the Nigerian Regiment, Queen's Own Nigerian Regiment, and Nigerian Military Force before its current name, the Nigerian Army.

"The transformation continued through different phases of growth and development until the Nigerian Army witnessed an astronomical increase in strength from 10,500 to 250,000 all ranks during the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War. The war ended with the slogan "No victor, no vanquished," reuniting the country in 1970.

"Thereafter, the Nigerian Army downsized into a compact army with a four-division structure of 1 Division, 2 Division, 3 Division, and 82 Division. The NA has, however, again, in response to the contemporary security environment in the country reorganized into an eight-divisional structure complemented by other commands.

While commending the Media for its long-standing partnership, General Lagbaja, however, assured of Nigeria Army's commitment to work assiduously in synergy with sister services and security agencies in discharging its assigned duties professionally, putting the national interest above any personal gains or consideration.

"I urge you to partner with us to restore peace and security across the length and breadth of our beloved nation," he pleaded.

2023-06-27 News