The Nigerian Army on Thursday conducted a historic trooping and presentation of colours parade, retiring and replacing 53 units’ regimental colours and issued 28 new ones for newly established units.
The ceremony was conducted by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, in line with military tradition across the globe.
Historically, 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 established on Aug. 1, 1924, under the command of Maj. Hassar, then a British Officer.
According to the Nigerian history, there is difference between normal flags and military colours.
“Presentation of colours is a rallying point for troops and match location of the commanders in a better view.
“Eligibility of units to receive colours is another milestone as colours are regarded with great reverence.
“Regimental colours are awarded to formations and units after their formation and are retired when the formation or unit becomes defunct as a result of organization or structural changes.
“Colours are retired ceremoniously where the entire parade will give a final compliment to the colours.”
The trooping and presentation of colours parade is conducted when retiring the old colours of a regiment/unit and presenting the regiment/unit with a new one.
It entails marching/trooping the old colours past the formed up soldiers of the regiment/unit, retiring the colours, presenting the new colours to the regiment/unit and then consecrating the new colours.
It is usually conducted once in 15 to 20 years as desired by country’s armed forces but the last time such a parade was conducted in Nigeria was in 2007 when 32 units/regiments were issued with new colours.
While commenting on the event, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who was is anchor of the event, said that colours of several units in the army had either been damaged or worn out since 2007.
Mr Nwachukwu said that several units had also been established an operationalised and deserving of new colours.
According to him, these factors necessitated the approval by the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, for the conduct of the 2023 trooping and presentation of colours parade.
NAN reports that the event involved trooping and retiring of old colours, presentation of new colours, march past, blessing of the colours by the spiritual leaders from the army and presentation of commemorative coin among others.
The event was also graced by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, members of the federal executive council, traditional rulers, services chiefs and members of the diplomatic community.