Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Military Ranks: Rejoinder to Mr. Tajudeen Bakre
point Mr. Bakre disputes is that "the post-colonial Nigerian Army (NA)
traces its origins to 1863 when British Naval Lt. Glover established 'Glover's
Hausas." He seems to have a problem with the official Nigerian Armed
Forces account of its history.
The history of the Nigerian Navy and its origin from the Nigerian Marine is outlined at http://www.nigerianavy.org/page8.html
There are numerous other sources regarding the heritage of the Nigerian Marine department.
Mr. Bakre also claims:
"in fact, what you wrote about the history of the armed forces first saw the light of day sometime in 1984 or 1985 through the publication meant to pass as a lie, of a diary accompanying the Nigerian Army calendar."
Again, Mr. Bakre is utterly wrong and seriously misinformed. The sources of the history of the Nigerian Army date back many decades. Indeed I have had cause to post Lugard's 1919 report in various egroups the past. (See FD Lugard: Report on the Amalgamation of Northern and Souther Nigeria, and administration, 1912 – 1919. H.M. Stationery Office, 1920.)
Lastly, Mr. Bakre wrote:
"Have you ever asked, Sir, why the nomenclature is "Nigeria Police Force" and not "Nigerian Police Force"? Even rtd. David Jemibewon could not go beyond removing the word "Force". Why is it that the rank of Sgt. Maj. is almost extinct in the Nigeria Police Force? Why is the colour of the Ghanaian Army belt (ceinture) the colour of the Nigeria Police Force flag and coma belt? And why is the Nigeria Police Force headquarters mobile squadron's shoulder tap blue, yellow and green coloured?"
My response is that the Nigeria Police was NOT the focus of my essay on Military Ranks, Military Ranks of the Nigerian Army. I made no comment about it, although I can certainly do a separate write-up focusing on Police ranks. Nevertheless, for the sake of information, now that Mr. Bakre has raised the issue, note that the fact that the Police is called "Force" has nothing to do with Major General Jemibewon (rtd). Even the Nigerian Constitution still calls it a "Force."
Unknown to most people the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Nigerian Army (NA) actually share the same origins. The NPF started out as a small Consular Guard in 1861, and merged with the Lagos Constabulary (a.k.a.) "Glover's Hausas" in 1863. As I stated elsewhere, An Overview of the Evolution of The Nigerian Army , the Lagos Constabulary was formed "to police the colony, protect British traders, and handle some raids into the hinterland....It evolved into the Hausa Constabulary in 1865, the Lagos Constabulary in 1873, the Oil Rivers Irregulars in 1886 and the Niger Coast Constabulary (NCC) in 1891." During the nearly forty (40) years of early West African paramilitary Police (Constabulary) activity (1861 - 1900) colours, insignia, belts etc were seen across what later became British west african colonies. The pre-WAFF Hausa "constabulary" was used in colonial wars of conquest across the region, including Gold Coast (later Ghana).
But the Army and Police went separate ways during the differentiation, reorganization and formal creation of the WAFF in 1900.
When, in 1900, the regular regiments were formally distinguished from "Police" or "Constabulary" forces, phrases such as "Nigeria Regiment", "Gambia Company", Gold Coast Regiment" etc. were in vogue. Likewise their Police counterparts were called "Northern Nigeria Constabulary (Police)", Gambia Constabulary (Police)" etc. rather than "Nigerian" or "Gambian" Constabulary (Police). That is why the Nigeria Police Force is still called "Nigeria", not "Nigerian" Police Force.
The common heritage from the pre-WAFF colonial forces should also assist Mr. Bakre in understanding why the "colour of the Ghanaian Army belt (ceinture)" is similar to "the colour of the Nigeria Police Force flag and coma belt." Indeed what was then known as the "Gold Coast Corps" in modern Ghana even predates the Lagos or Hausa Constabulary by a few years and derives from the earlier British conflicts with the Ashanti.
Note that the Nigeria Police Flag has three colours, Blue, Yellow and Green, which is what is reflected on the "mobile squadron's shoulder tap." The blue stands for Love, Loyalty and Unity, yellow stands for Discipline and Resourcefulness, while green stands for Energy and Life.
A full discussion is beyond the scope of this response but readers may visit the official website of the NPF at http://www.nigeriapolice.org/history.html for a summary of Police history.
The Nigeria Police Force is still called a "Force" irrespective of recent legislative efforts to change the title to a "Service". The term "Force" derives from its pre-1900 colonial "paramilitary" constabulary history as a "para-military 'Force' of occupation" set up to protect the British trader class, so to speak. It is still the term used in the Constitution to this day - rightly or wrongly.
I hope this brief rejoinder will serve to shed light on the issues raised by Mr. Bakre.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.