The Nigerian Army will commemorate its 159th anniversary at the Nigerian Army Day celebration (NADCEL) 2022 in Owerri, Imo.
Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), announced this on Wednesday in Abuja at a news conference to mark the start of the NADCEL 2022.
The theme for the year, according to Yahaya, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (Army), Maj.-Gen. Anthony Omozoje, will be “Repositioning the NA in the Joint Operations Environment: A Panacea for Success in Addressing Contemporary Security Challenges.”
He claimed that the Nigerian army, tasked by the constitution with defending the country’s territorial integrity, had a long history dating back to 1863, when Lt. Glover of the Royal Navy organized 18 Northern Nigerians into a local force known as the “Glover Hausas.”
According to the COAS, the local force went through several stages of metamorphosis before becoming part of a larger military body known as the West African Frontier Force (WAFF)., which was established by Lord Fredrick Lugard in 1900.
According to him, the Nigerian Regiment, Queen’s Own Nigeria Regiment, and Nigerian Military Force were all names used by the force before it was given its current name, the Nigerian Army.
“NADCEL, as you are aware, is an annual event of the Nigerian army held on July 6 to commemorate the day the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War broke out, when the first shot that started the war was fired at Garkem in present-day Cross River State.”
“It should be noted that the first NADCEL was held in Lagos in 1978.”
“This year’s celebration marks the 159th anniversary of the Nigerian Army’s formation,” he said.
Yahaya stated that July 6 was designated as a day to remind the Nigerian army of its history and the importance of using tactful and mediatory conflict resolution approaches rather than resorting to armed conflict.
He added that the event would also serve as a reminder of the ‘No victor, no vanquished’ slogan used at the end of the civil war, emphasizing the importance of promoting national unity, peace, and cohesion strengthened by diversity.
According to him, the week-long event will also provide an opportunity for the Nigerian army to take stock, assess its performance, interact with the public, and set goals for the coming year.
He stated that the activities would be carried outto maintain a highly professional army that is well trained,combat-ready, and effectively positioned to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.
According to him, the celebration will take place from July 1 to July 6, and will highlight the army’s operational activities, transformational strides in innovation, development, civil-military cooperation, research, and technological advancement.
“The celebration is also aimed at projecting the Army as an instrument of national unity and integration, as well as highlighting the Nigerian army’s achievements, capabilities, and positive corporate image and reputation,” he said.
Maj.-Gen. MarcusKayee, Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, said the choice of Imo was in keeping with the annual tradition of taking NADCEL to different parts of the country and had nothing to do with the security situation in the South East.
Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations, stated that the 2017 NADCEL was held in Monguno, Borno, during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Nwachukwu stated that the military has remained supportive of democratic governance, adding that the 2022 NADCEL would allow them to rethink their support roles to the civil authority.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), NADCEL was involved in a variety of activities such as Jummah prayer and interdenominational church services across army formations, humanitarian outreaches, and so on.