BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY

The history of the Nigerian Army dates back to 1863, when Lt Glover of the Royal Navy selected 18 indigenes from the Northern part of the country and organized them into a local force, known as the "Glover Hausas”. The small force was used by Glover as governor of Lagos to mount punitive expeditions in the Lagos hinterland and to protect British trade routes around Lagos. In 1865, the "Glover Hausas” became a regular force with the name “Hausa Constabulary”. It performed both police and military duties for the colonial government. It later became ‘Lagos Constabulary.” On incorporation into the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF). In 1901, it became “Lagos Battalion.” In addition to the force, the British government included the Royal Niger Company (RNC), Constabulary Force in Northern Nigeria in 1886 and the oil rivers irregular in 1891.

 In 1889, Lord Fredrick Lugard had formed the incipient body of what was to be known in 1890, as the West Africa Frontier Force, (WAFF), in Jebba, Northern Nigeria. The new unit expanded by absorbing the Northern Nigeria-based elements of the Royal Niger Company (RNC) Constabulary. By the end of 1901, it had incorporated all paramilitary units in the other British dependencies into its command, thus fully meriting its designation “WAFF.”

The establishment of West African Frontier Force (WAFF) led to the merger of all units into regiment in each of the dependencies. The merger in Nigeria produced the northern Nigerian Regiment and Southern Nigerian Regiment.

The First commanders of the Southern Regiments of WAFF were Lt CHP Carter (1899-1901) and Col J Wilcox (1900-1909) respectively. The two regiments were later used for expeditions during the annexation of Nigeria by Lord Lugard between 1901 and 1903.

With the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, the unification of the northern and Southern Regiments came into being and this witnessed the birth of the Nigerian Regiments.

The Northern Nigerian Regiments became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Nigerian Regiment, while the Southern Nigerian Regiment became the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Nigerian Regiments (NR). The mounted infantry of the Northern Regiments became the ordinary Infantry Battalion after the Second World War. A field artillery also existed in the Northern Regiment.

With the visit of Queen Elizabeth of Britain between 28 January and 15 February, 1956, the Nigerian regiment was renamed the Queens Own Nigerian Regiments (QONR). Also in the same year, the regionalization of the WAFF came into existence and each military force became independent of the other.  As a result, the QONR became the Nigerian Military Force (NMF). By 1st June, 1958, the British Army Council in London relinquished control of NMF to the Nigerian Government.

In 1960, when Nigeria became independent, the NMF became known as Royal Nigerian Army (RNA). When Nigeria became a republic, the RNA changed to the Nigerian Army. In the same year, the Army changed its uniform, rank structure and instruments from those of RWAFF to new ones including green khaki uniform. 

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY

THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF (COAS)

Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on 26 January 2020. The senior officer was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna as a member of the 35 Regular Course in 1984 and commissioned Second Lieutenant on December 1986 into the Infantry Corps of the Nigerian Army.

Lieutenant General Attahiru has held several appointments on staff, instructional and command in his military career, prominent among these are Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV), Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD), General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army. The COAS served as a Military Observer, United Nations in Sierra Leone where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000. He was an Operations Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia. The Army Chief was one time Theatre Commander Operation LAFIA DOLE (the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Outfit in North Eastern Nigeria).  It is on record that the COAS brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.

Other staff appointments held by the senior officer include Adjutant, 7 Battalion Nigerian Army, Sarti, Chief of Staff, 1 Brigade Nigerian Army, Sokoto and General Staff Officer Grade 1 Training/Operations as well as Staff Duties/Plans at the Headquarters 1, 2 and 81 Divisions of the Nigerian Army. He was Deputy Director Military Secretary 2 at the AHQ MS (A) and one-time Director Army Public Relations and Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army.

He was later Director Staff Duties and Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters.  He was equally privileged to serve as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation and Chief of Defence Logistics at the apex organ of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Defence Headquarters Abuja.  In that position he worked with the US Defence Logistics Agency on the Vertically Integrated Logistics Approach (VILA) Programme towards enhancing the operational readiness in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

The COAS served as an Instructor at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He was later a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji-Nigeria.

Lieutenant General Attahiru attended National Defence Management and Security Studies Course at the National Defence College Kenya and the Basic and Advanced Special/Operations Commando Forces Courses at the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Special Forces Academy Shijiazhuang-Hubei Province, China. He has undertaken leadership and security policy courses at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University USA, Graduate School of Media and Communication, Agha Khan University Kenya, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Center and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

He holds a Masters degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy and Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University, United Kingdom as well as Graduate Diploma in International Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya.


THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF (COAS)

Soldiers Creed

My Honour is my faith

I vow my faith in Nigeria

The supremacy of the Constitution

Our heritage of liberty

 

My Duty is my service

To defend Nigeria everywhere

Our territory, wealth and people

The cradle of our freedom

 

Whenever the clarion calls

Whatever price of odds

My faith is one and ever

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

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