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Nigerian Army @ 152


Nigerian-ArmyEVERY July 6th has always been marked as the Nigerian Army Day. The day has historical significance because it marks a turning point in the history of the Nigerian Army annually.

Many would wonder why celebrating when the nation is at a war with one of the most barbaric terrorist groups known in human history, the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) for almost five years with no end in sight. Indeed, the Army and of course all Nigerians, have cause to rejoice and celebrate the Nigerian Army for its longevity and accomplishments especially given its recent success in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the country.

The Nigerian Army has undergone a lot within the last one year, the fight against insurgency, vilification by some sections of the public, media and most unfortunately; the Amnesty International. However, it was able to wither the storm.

It remains ever strong, a bastion of national security and rallying point of national unity. Within the last one year, the army has accomplished so much in the areas of training, procurement and administration that helped in turning the tide against the terrorists. It now has a new aviation wing and established a command and control centre at the epicentre of the theatre of operations.

Sometime ago, some officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army took to their heels at the sight of approaching terrorists, but today, it is the soldiers that chase the insurgents.

The show of solidarity, support and understanding of Nigerians at the most trying moments of the Nigerian Army is worth celebrating.   So many detractors have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to tarnish the name and reputation of the Nigerian Army, among whom were highly placed personalities and retired senior military officers.

But the encouraging resolve of Nigerians to be solidly behind the Nigerian Army is heartwarming. They were able to recapture and dominate all the territories hitherto held by Boko Haram terrorists. These include Baga, Gwoza, Bama, Monguno, Dikwa, Michika, Mubi and Baga amongst others.

The Nigerian Army has made tremendous sacrifices to ensure the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians and defence of the nation’s territorial integrity.

We have lost so many officers and men in the course of securing our great nation from the terrorists, criminals such as illegal oil bunkerers, kidnappers and armed robbers. Brief History of the Nigerian Army The history of the Nigerian Army could be traced to as far back as 1863 when Lieutenant Glover assembled mostly northern able-bodied men to protect the Royal Niger Company, which was referred to as the “Glover Hausas”. Since then, the Army has undergone transformation in nomenclature, grown in size and weaponry.

Today, it is embarking on Army Aviation and boasts of modern and sophisticated weapons and training instructions that not only train its men and officers but civilians alike, thus contributing to knowledge and national development. Significance of Nigerian Army Day Celebration There is a saying that in a life of a man, there is a time to be born and a time to die. The first is far more significant to this discuss.

Although there is no exact date when Lieutenant Glover formed his Glover’s Hausas, July 6th of every year came to be adopted because it marked the day when the Nigerian civil war began in 1967.

It was on record that the first shot was fired on July 6, 1967 at Ugep in present Cross River State. Why it is worth celebrating; Achievements or significant milestones within the last one year The Nigerian Army has achieved a lot over its long period of existence, most importantly, within the last one year.

Why the celebration is low-keyed and why part of it will be done in Maiduguri/North East. The Nigerian Army, conscious of its commitment to its constitutional duties especially as regards to the defence of the territorial integrity of our dear nation, could not afford flamboyant celebration, as was the case in the past.

This year’s celebration is solemn based on the commitment to the successful conclusion of the fight against Boko Haram terrorists and recognition of the sacrifice of our officers and soldiers and honouring of our departed colleagues who paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of our country.

Part of the activities marking this year’s NADCEL is visit to and special prayer at the military cemetery in Maiduguri. This is significant, as apart from the prayers, it goes a long way to show the bond between those that paid the supreme sacrifice in Operation Zaman Lafiya and their colleagues.

Similarly, those most deserving would also be presented with medals for their bravery and perseverance. What is expected of the Army and what is its expectation from the public or Nigerians We are really conscious of our constitutional duties and the high expectations of Nigerians.

Therefore, the Nigerian Army more than ever before is determined to destroy Boko Haram terrorists’ camps, enclaves and wherever they might be.

However, we also need continued support, prayers and understanding of the public. Nigerians should see the fight against terrorism and insurgency as a collective responsibility. We owe it a duty to support and encourage the army to enable it succeed. •Colonel Usman is Acting Director, Army Public Relations.

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