Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Nigerian Armed Forces celebration day

The Nigerian Armed Forces celebration day

The Nigerian Armed Forces are  the Armed Forced of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  The military has active duty personnel in three armed services, totaling approximately 200,000 troops and 300,000 paramilitary personnel.  Its origin lie in the elements of the Royal West African Frontier Force that became Nigerian when independence was granted in 1960.  In 1956 the Nigeria Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) was renamed the Nigerian Military Forces, and in April b1958 the colonial government of Nigeria took over from the British War Office control of the Nigerian Military Forces.  There has been a strong military coup culture; between 1966 and 1999 ten military coups took place.

Since its creation the Nigerian military has fought in a civil war – the conflict with Biafra in 1967 – 70 and sent peacekeeping forces abroad both with the United Nations and as the backbone of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  It has also seized power twice at home (1966 and 1983) and today has become entrenched in all facets of Nigerian civic and economic life; including manipulation of national political life.  General Sani Abacha’s creation of artificial political parties and a central role in the management of Nigeria’s oil wealth.

In the aftermath of the civil war, the much expanded size of the military, around 250,000 in 1977, consumed a large part of Nigeria’s resources under military rule for little productive return.  The great expansion of the military during the civil was further entrenched the existing military bold on Nigerian society carried over from the first military regime.  In doing so, it played an appreciable part in reinforcing the military’s nearly first – among – equals status within Nigerian society, and the linked decline in military effectiveness.
Training establishments in Nigeria include the prestigious officer entry Nigerian Defense Academy at Kaduna, the Armed Forces Command  and Staff College, Jaji, and the National War College at Abuja.

The Armed Forced Remembrance Day celebration is an armed even organized to honour members of the Nigerian Armed Forces who fought in the first and second World Wars, and those who served or are still serving in various peace support operations worldwide as well as those who fought in the Nigerian civil war.  The Day is to celebrate both the dead, and the living heroes including all those who suffered various deprivations as a result of wars.  The Day was initially marked on the eleventh of November every year to coincide with the rememberance Day popularly known as “Poppy Day” or “11 – 11” for the first and Second World War veterans in all commonwealth countries.

However, in Nigeria, in view of some significant historical developments, it is celebrated on the 15th of January every year.  The change to January 15 of every year was done in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on 15 January, 1970, thus signaling the end of the Nigerian Civil War that sought to tear apart the unity of Nigeria.

From thence, it has become a national ritual when on every January 15 nationwide, military personnel including the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Nigerian Legion converge in different centres across the nation to celebrate the day and give honour to fallen and living heroes who harzarded and continue to hazard their lives for the territorial integrity of the nation and for peace to reign worldwide.  The event is held at the federal, state and local levels where either serving military officers reside or where living ex-service men occupy.

Several events including release of pigeons to symbolize peace, placing of wreaths, playing of the last post, Remembrance Day parade, shooting of guns and others characterize this memorable day.

The army officers usually wear different colours of attires to depict their fields, be it Navy, Air force, Army and the ex-service men.

Besides parades and releasing of pigeons, the event also witness religious services in both mosques and churches nationwide.

As we join in celebrating them, especially those who have laid their lives in the course of this country, they have fought a good fight, they have finished the race and they have kept the faith.

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