By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The 177 Guards Battalion 2019 West Africa Social Activities (WASA) is a good example of excellent civil-military relations as espoused by the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai especially in view of the number and classes of people who attended the colourful event.
The 177 Guards Battalion 2019 WASA, which held on Saturday 7th December 2019 and aptly titled “2nd to None”, really lived up to expectation.
From the entrance into the Shittu Alao Barracks headquarters, the repackaged and upgraded gate and the delicately decorated parade ground gave an indication of what to expect, an enjoyable celebration.
Scores of residents of Keffi and other neighbouring communities were seen trooping into the Shittu Alao barracks in excitement with some disclosing that 177 battalion and its soldiers had made the state not only peaceful but have sacrificed a lot to make security of lives and property worthwhile.
Hence we are here to celebrate with them and let them know we are happy that they are around and alive to see 2019 WASA.
Hence, the many cultural troupes who thronged the WASA ground had no choice but adorn the parade ground with colourful and scintillating traditional attires showcasing the beauty and diversity of the Nigerian nation.
Amongst them were the IBO cultural troupe, the Fulani, the Yoruba, the Akwa Ibom/Cross Rivers cultural troupe, the Masukura dance troupe, Tiv dance troupe, the Samba dance troupe from Kaduna, Idoma cultural troupe and the impressive Kaloma Shata group from Keffi whose leader entertained dignitaries with jokes and laughter tunes.
The Emir of Keffi, Alhaji (Dr) Chindo Shehu Yamusa lll added colour and was seen physically enjoying not only the dance of the various cultural troupes but the jokes and praise singing of the Kaloma Shata group leader.
Governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Alhaji Sule who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Hassan Tijani, commended the 177 Guards Battalion as well as the Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army.
While noting that Nasarawa state counted itself lucky to be under the Guards Brigade A rear of Responsibility of the Nigerian Army, Governor Sule pledged to continue to provide any support to encourage the 177 Guards Battalion.
He recalled that since 2012 that Nasarawa state started experiencing challenges to date whether it is security challenges, ethnic challenges of battles against criminal elements, the Nigerian Army has always help to restore peace and sanity in the state.
For this, the Governor commended the Guards Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Mohammed Takuti Usman as well as the Commanding Officer of the 177 Battalion, Col Musa Uba.
He subsequently donated #1milliin in support of the battalion’s activities.
Earlier in his welcome address, the CO of the battalion, Col Musa Uba who was recently decorated with his new rank after his promotion by the Army Council, gave thanks to God for his promotion to the rank of Colonel as well as the promotion of the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the battalion from a Warrant Officer to Master Warrant Officer.
The RSM was also retained at the Battalion while several other soldiers got elevated to their next rank.
Col Uba was particularly happy that all assignments and training task’s issued to the 177 battalion were carried out and completed within stipulated time frame.
While commending the Nasarawa state government for its collaboration and support for the Battalion, Col Uba paid homage to the Emir of Keffi for his royal and fatherly support to the battalion at all times.
The Chief Scorpion and Guards Brigade Commander, Brigadier General MT Usman , accompanied with his wife and Coordinator of NAOWA for the Brigade led other military officers including Brigadier General Musa Ibrahim to grace the occasion.
Eight soldiers including the Battalion RSM were later presented with awards for exceptional performances and dedication to duty during the year.
The awards were presented by the Emir of Keffi, the representative of the Nasarawa state governor, the Chairman of Keffi LGA,the wife of Guards Brigade Commander and the Commanding Officer of the Battalion..
The beating of the retreat was observed after a tug of war completion between the Magajia’s of the barracks against soldiers which the Magajia’s won.
This was followed with the lighting of the WASA Camp fire.
Present at the occasion from Guards Brigade headquarters were the Commanding Officer, 7 Guards Battalion, Lt. Col, Muktar Sani Daroda, the Commanding Officer, Guards Brigade Garrison, Lt. Col Mohammed Main a, the Commanding Officer, 102 Guards Battalion, Lt. Col OA Odubiyi, the Commanding Officer, 176 Battalion, Lt. Col Lawrence Osiomaye and the CO Intelligence at Brigade headquarters, Lt. Col Bello Umaru.
Other notable dignitaries that attended the WASA included Dr Aliyu Abubakar of Nasarawa state university, Mr Okundaye representing OLAM farms limited, Keffi Local Government Chairman, Unit Commander, FRSC, JJ Ameh.