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 Tukur Yusufu Buratai, a world class Infantry officer assumed command as the 20th Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army on 16 July, 2015. He was born on 24th November 1960, at Buratai town, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State. He started his primary school in Kaduna and completed it at St Patrick Primary School Maiduguri, and thereafter, proceeded to Government Teachers’ College Potiskum, now in Yobe State, where he completed and subsequently obtained his Teachers’ Grade 2 certificate with flying colours, graduating with distinction. An iconic example of a citizen who places national interest above personal one, whose zeal to serve the nation with his life is inborn. It is this inalienable zeal to serve the nation with his life that made him apply and gain admission into the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna as a member of the 29th Regular Combatant Course (29 RC) on 3rd January 1981. On successful completion of his Officer Cadet training, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 17th December 1983 into the Infantry Corps.

He was a Platoon Commander at 26 Amphibious Battalion Elele, Port Harcourt and also a Military Observer at the United Nations Verification Mission II in Angola. Other appointments include Staff Officer to the Principal Staff Officer to the then Head of State at the State House, Officer Commanding (OC) at 82 Motorized Battalion, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) where he was awarded the prestigious “Pass Staff College Dagger” (psc(+)). He was again at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College where he served as Director of the Department of Land Warfare before his appointment as Commander 2 Brigade Nigerian Army where he served. At 2 Brigade Nigerian Army Port Harcourt. He was also the Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI), Jaji, Director of Procurement at the Defence Headquarters from where he was appointed Force Commander of the reconstituted Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) on 18 May 2015. General Buratai was appointed the 20th Chief of Army Staff on Monday 13 July 2015.

General Buratai eminently earned the following Honours and Awards: Nigerian Army Medal (NAM), Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS) and the Grand Service Star (GSS). Others include Pass Staff Course Dagger (psc(+)), National Defence College (ndc) (Bangladesh), Field Command Medal (FCM), Training Support Medal (TSM) and the United Nations Medal for Angolan Verification Medal II (UNAVEM II). In addition, the erudite general has the following qualifications; Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education, Bachelor of Arts in History, Masters of Arts Degree in History and a Master of Philosophy Degree in Security Studies.

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

Defence Headquaters
Nigerian Defence Magazine
The Official The Defence Headquarters Blog