The parade is necessary due to the establishment and operationalisation of new army units

Soldiers stand in a parade at the military arcade during a ceremony marking the army Remembrance Day in Lagos, Nigeria January 15, 2017 [REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye]

This event marks the first Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade since 2007. A total of 81 units will participate in the parade, with 53 colours due for retirement and 28 colours presented to new army units.

According to Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, the parade is necessary due to the establishment and operationalisation of new army units, in line with the increasing operational commitments of the service and provisions of the Nigerian Army Order of Battle.

Most of the colours in the Nigerian Army have been involved in multiple operations in various geopolitical zones of the country and foreign countries and deserve retirement and the presentation of new colours.

Explaining the importance of colours in the military, the army spokesman said historically, the origin of colours dated back to the early days when men fixed their family badge to a pole and held it aloft in the battle for the dual purpose of indicating their position and as a rallying point, should the occasion arise.

In the Nigerian Army, the first known account of colours dates back to 1863, when the company designated for Nigeria moved from Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Nigeria with their company’s flag.

However, colour presentations in the Nigerian Army for the first time was in 1922, when the then British monarch, His Majesty, King John V, awarded colours to each battalion of the Nigerian regiments, which formed part of the British West African Frontier Forces (WAFF), in recognition of their services.

The regiment as a whole was also granted a colour, which has an inscription written in Arabic, captioned, “Victory is from God Alone“, and till date, this inscription is being used by the Nigerian Army on the logo and also on NA officers’ cap badges of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and below, as well as non-commissioned officers.

“The sight of the colours creates a feeling of pride in soldiers and ex-soldiers. From ancient history, colours have served as an inspiration for heroic acts of self-sacrifice and become the symbol of the fighting spirit of a regiment, for they bear the campaigns, battle honours and badges granted to the regiment in commemoration of the gallant deeds performed by its members from the time it was raised.

“The association of the colours with heroic deeds of the units emblazoned on them has led to the custom of regarding the colours with veneration. It is, therefore, the desire of combat and combat support units to be presented with national and regimental colours in special ceremonial parades with the president and commander-in-chief of AFN in attendance. Colours are presented to combat and support units and regiments only.”


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