Regimental Colours Day: Nigerian Army, British Army Hold Historic Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade

In a glamourous celebration, the Nigerian Army troops today made history, as about 305 officers and 121 soldiers mounted the guard of honour  parade for the historic Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as Reviewing Officer and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, just as in the United Kingdom the His Majesty The King also today 27 April 2023 presented a new Standard and Colour to two of the oldest and most prestigious regiments in the British Army. 

The Grenadier Guards with their new Colour

SpyeTV News who was live at the epoch event reports that, the 2023 Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade held at the Eagles Square was conducted to retire about 53 regimental/units and presentation of the new colour to 28 new regimental/unit and then consecration the new colours. 

The principle of bearing a coloured flag that distinguished one body of fighting troops from another, dates back many millennia. Standards and Colours were used as rallying points on the battlefield, helping troops locate each other and avoid becoming disorientated during the fog of war. The Ensign or Standard Bearer became a rank of huge honour and importance as their actions in battle could literally save the regiment and result in combat victory.

In his commentary at the event, the Director, Army Public Relations  Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu explained that the occasions where colours can be presented is when a combat or combat support arm unit is newly established and operationalized or when a units colour is damaged or old.

The historic event kicked-off when the Reviewing Officer and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari arrived and inspects the guard of honour parade which was followed by retiring of old unit Regimental colours, retired by Unit’s Regimental Sergent majors in a ceremoniously and emotional ways as the entire parade gives a final compliment to the colour. The colours where slowly marched out of the parade.

The new 28 regimental colours arrived which was rallying point by troops and march location of the Commanders, the Quarter Master for the event Major AA Abubakar marched forward to receive the new colours and flags which stand as a rallying point for the units, and placed them on the ceremonial drums. Drums was traditionally pilled to provide an altar for the consecration. 

The pilling consists of 3 layers using 5 sides drums to form the base layer followed by a base drum on the second layer and a tenor drum on the topmost layer. The colours was then dropped onto the piled drums for the consecration by Nigerian Army heads of religion bodies (Islam and Christianity, Presbyterian) after which the new colours conferred on units and formations by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Another significant session is the presentation of 'Commemorative Coin' by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Faruk Yahaya CFR to President Muhammadu Buhari before the final salute.

In his address, the Special Guest of Honour, President Muhammadu Buhari highlighted some of his achievements and significant improvement in the fighting power as a result of the procurement of equipment and mission specific training, the Army was empowered to rejig its operations. Accordingly, the Army has restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities. The quantum of platforms inducted into the Army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the North East resulting in the recapture of territories hitherto held by the insurgents. 

"The efforts of the troops leading to unprecedented successes was evident in the increased number of neutralized insurgents and those that voluntarily surrendered alongside their families for radicalization and rehabilitation through Operation SAFE CORRIDOR. 

This feat has continued to be replicated in other theatres of operation within the country leading to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons to their ancestral homes and restoration of economic activities in addition to the contribution of the Nigerian Army to global peace through Peace Support Operations." He noted. 

Regimental Colours presentation evolved when colours were presented by then Governor-General to 1st Battalion on 17 Mar 1920. The colours bore battle honours which had the Ashanti 1873 - 1874, the Ashanti 1900, Beho-Beho, Nyango East Africa 1916 1918, Doula, Garua, Banyo, - and Cameroon 1914 - 1916. This was in addition to the battle honours won by the Nigerian units during the Second World War which include Babile Gap, Kohyito, Abbysinia 1940-1941, Kaladun Dalet Chindit 1944 and Burma 1943.

The British colonial authority was the first to issue the first colours to then Nigerian Recruitment Training Centre, now Depot Nigerian Army located in Zaria, which was establish on 1 August 1924 under the command of Maj Hassar, a British Officer. Although, the Depot is not a regiment or battalion as such, but the mother of all regiments or battalions in the Nigerian Army. The Depot was entitled to only a National Colour emblazoned with all battle honours won by its offspring which are the battalions in the NA. This became imperative due to need for recruits passing out from Depot Nigerian Army to take their oaths.

Dignitaries at the event includes Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, former heads of state, members of the Federal Executive Council, retired Nigerian Army Generals,  Former Chief of Army Staff, members of the diplomatic Corps, NDLEA Chairman, Senior officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, DEPOWA, the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association NAOWA, POWA, NOWA and families of military personnel.

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