1. Gentlemen of the press, you are welcome to this all-important Press Briefing in preparation for one of the historic customs and traditions event in the Nigerian Army (NA), the Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023.Today, I will through this Press Briefing update you on the activities and programmes lined up for the historic and rare event. The event is scheduled to hold on 27 April 2023 at the Eagle Square Abuja.
2. 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. This tradition was sustained by medieval chivalry as armorial bearings were placed on their banners so that these could be seen well above the melee. At the beginning of 16th century,when armies were beginning to adopt a system of regimentation each Unit was allotted a Colour, a custom which persisted till present day.
3. In the NA, the first known account of Colours ko dated back to 1863 when the company designated for Nigeria moved from Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Nigeria with their company’s flag which represented their Colours or Guidon as they are called by the British. However, Colour Presentations in the NA 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 Non-Commissioned Officers.
4. The Colours of a regiment are presented by the heads of state or monarch, prime minister and Commanders-in-Chief of the Country or State under which the regiment exists. The National and Regimental Colours carried by NA units during parades and ceremonial activities are important source of identity and pride not only for the units involved but for the NA and the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN). 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 combat support units and regiment only.
5. Gentlemen of the Press. It may interest you to know that the last Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade for the NA units was conducted in 2007. Since then, new units have been established and operationalized in line with the increasing operational commitments of the NA as well as provisions of extant NA Order of Battle (ORBAT). Colours are usually retired after 10 years of service. Most of the Colours in the NA have been involved in multiple operations in various geopolitical zones of the Country as well as foreign countries, hence deserving retirement and the presentation of new Colours.
6. It is against this backdrop and in line with the traditions, customs and ethics of the NA, Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023 will be conducted to retire torn or worn out Colours, as well as to present the National and Regimental Colours to the newly established and operationalized NA units in line with the increasing operational commitments of the NA as well as provisions of the extant NA ORBAT. A total of 81 units will therefore be participating in the Parade, 53Colours will be due for retirement, while 28Colours while be presented to new NA units.The event is a unique ceremony not only to the units eligible for Colours presentation, as many are looking up to this ceremony to witness the height of military discipline and regimentation.
7. No doubt the parade will win more admirers for the NA as it will provide the NA another opportunity to showcase its reputation for excellent and Colourful Parades. The Special Guest of Honour and Reviewing Officer is the Commander-in-Chief of AFN President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. The event will also have in attendance members of the National and Executive Council, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Executive Governors of the States benefitting Units, Service Chiefs, past Chief of Army Staffs, senior military officers both serving and retired, captains of industries as well as other important dignitaries. Therefore, in an effort to regulate traffic and avoid interference during the ceremony, some strategic routes leading to the venue have been diverted. These include traffic light before Force Headquarters, traffic light by Milinium park and traffic light close to ministry of Finance. While we regret all the inconveniences the diversion may cause to road users, commuters are please requested to use alternative routes as will guided by military police deployed at the designated points.
8. On this note, I want to on behalf of the COAS Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya CFR appreciate the President, Commander-in-Chief of the AFN for giving the NA another opportunity to showcase one of its historic customs and traditions and indeed all Nigerians for their untiring support to the NA towards the pursuit of the restoration of peace and security to our great nation, Nigeria. Gentlemen of the Press, I acknowledge your partnership and continued cooperation with the NA in our quest to return peace to our dear Country and West African Sub-region. Your Professionalism in carrying out your tasks as well as unbiased reportage has significantly enhanced our operations, Collectively,we shall actualize the desired peace.
9. Thank you for your attention and God bless.