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Published On: Thu, Sep 18th, 2014

Know your gallant soldiers

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By Nasiru Garba

The beginning was marked by a call from able bodied young men from every nooks and cranny of the country, Nigeria attained a Republican status and prior to the outbreak of the civil war in 1966. The call went on drafting literates, illiterates and stack illiterates which made the number swell from strength to strength until it was enough to reckoned with, most dedicated, disciplined, hard-working and practically skilled soldiers were born at the time this country needed them.

These men have not only made their country proud but courageously contributed towards making Nigeria the giant of Africa. Indeed they have made Nigeria proud through their indelible contributions in peacekeeping and peace enforcement operation worldwide this is significant by looking at how Nigerian soldiers restored peace in Liberia and reinstated the deposed democratically elected President of Sierra Leone Alhaji Tejan Kabba.

Nevertheless, any situation one found himself he should thank Almighty God for being alive or healthy Nigeria will not forget the gallantry attitude shown by some officers and men of these greatest institution as replicated in the young Obasanjo a lieutenant Colonel who is currently receiving medical treatment in the hospital after sustaining injuries in the course of fighting the insurgents in the Northeastern part of Nigeria, but eager to go back to the field for the clarion call which is indeed a spirit of protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

Obasanjo was indeed a gallant soldier who since his YOC in the year 2000 showed bravery in the attitude of soldiery. Several of the fallen heroes are fondly remembered, the likes of Captain Chari Magumeri who lived an exemplary life and served in various capacities during pre colonial era from 1917-1959 . As a young Beriberi/Kanuri from Maiduguri, Chari Magumeri joined the German-Cameroon Forces in 1913. Early in 1915 whilst on a subduing patrol in Cameroon in which his officer was killed by a native arrow, subsequent action earned him the award of the iron cross.

During the action at Garoa in 1915 at which the earned a Battle honor, Chari Magumeri was captured by British troops. This ended one phase of a long record of military service.After a call for volunteers he joined the Nigeria Regiment at Lokoja in july, 1917 after a short training was posted to the 3rd Battalion in East Africa, he was promoted sergeant in 1920, CSM in 1924 just before the yakinmata at Aba in 1929(Aba women riot) he was promoted to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) In 1937 Chari Magumeri had the honor to represent the Battalion at the Coronation parade of his Majesty King George VI in London.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939-1945 he accompanied the Battalion to East Africa, Italy, Somalia Abyssinia and Burma. In Abyssinia he was awarded the military medal for bravery, in 1944 the British empire medal for distinguished services. After the surrender of Japan, he was sent to England to represent the 3rd battalion at the victory parade in London. In 1952 he once again went to England to represent the Nigerian Regiment at the funeral of late King George VI and later in 1953 attended the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. After serving 36 years in the Nigeria Regiment 24 of which were spent as RSM of the 3rd battalion he discharged to in commission 1953 by order of Her Majesty the Queen, was made a Honorary Captain in the Nigeria Regiment.

In 1958, Captain Magumeri had the honor to be selected as the representative of the Regiment at the unveiling ceremony of the Rangoon war memorial. He finally died in Kawo, Kaduna on 13 April, 1972. Bravery is, indeed, one of the traits of the Nigerian soldier and what is presently going on in the wave of insecurity doesn’t mean they cannot contain the situation, somewhere, somehow something is missing in the track that guide the operation.

Nasiru Garba is in the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano


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