Post-Colonial Development of the Nigerian Armed Forces

Posted by on 10/27/2002 2:48:19 PM
Post Comment Post-Colonial Development of the Nigerian Armed Forces Nigeria

Lt WU Bassy
Lt WU Bassy
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By 1957, Nigeria was firmly on course to political independence. The envisaged Anglo-Nigerian relationship after independence determined the future direction of development and control of theNigerian Armed Forces.

Lt RA Shodeinde
Lt RA Shodeinde
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Without any suitable military or defence policy, the Nigerian government agreed for the British to relinquish control of the armed forces from 1 April, 1958. The Nigerian government was to thenceforth maintain the armed forces financially, while the British would offer military and financial aid on the request of the Nigerian government. But this control was illusory, to say the least, for even at independence, the Nigerian armed forces still bore the prefix "Royal" which showed, in real terms, that control of the military was still firmly in the hands of the British government. For example, in matters of discipline and procedures, the British Army Act of 1955 continued to operate and was exercised by British officers who still held command positions in the army.

Lt SA Ademulegun
Lt SA Ademulegun
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On attainment of independence, one of the immediate issues that needed to be tackled was that of the Nigerianisation of the manpower holding NIGERIA of the Armed Forces, There was thus a deliberate recruitment policy which ensured that by 1964, there were only 47 British officers remaining in the Nigerian Army. The last British Commander of the army, Major General Welby Everard, was replaced by Major General J. T. U. Agulyi lronsi in 1965, and by 1966, there was no British officer left in the army. At independence, the Nigerian army introduced new and smarter uniforms to replace the colonial issues which were described as being "fit for performing monkeys" (Miners, 1971).

Lt. JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi
Lt. JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi
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In addition, all the insignia and emblems of the British army were replaced with those of the new Nigerian nation. Also, new training grounds were sought for the per sonnel in Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, India and the U.S.A. The armed forces, however, generally lacked modem equipment and the manpower hold ing was small, largely illiterate and oblivious of their constitutional responsibilities. Therefore, there was a deliberate effort to improve military training facili ties in the country. Existing ones were upgraded while new ones were established. In this vein, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) were established in 1964.

 

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