Nigeria Military School — The Company of Great Boys

Posted: May 21, 2014 in Dairy of a Freeman, Naija Scene

The Nigerian Military School Zaria, founded as the Boys-Company of Nigeria in 1954, was established under the auspices of Nigerian Regiment Training centre of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF). The school was established along with three others in the British Colonial West Africa in Gambia, Gold Coast (now Ghana), and Sierra-Leone. It was modeled after the Boys Wing of the British Army. The present day Military School came into being on May 20, 1954.

The Boys Company as it used to be called was established as a full fledged training institution under the regimentation and administration of the defunct Nigerian Regimental Training Centre (NRTC) now Depot NA.

The aim of the school was the production of “middle and skilled manpower” to replace the departing British Colonial NCOs. Thus, a lot of emphasis was laid on military and academic training. In 1958, ten Boys from the School sat for the overseas Armed Forces General Certificate Examination and the school changed to school certificate status.

In 1960, the name “Boys Company” was changed to Nigerian Military School. In 1965 the first set of Boys wrote the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in which they performed creditably well. Since then, the school’s performance in such examination has always been excellent.

With the introduction of the new National Policy on Education, the School now runs six-year training programme broken into junior and senior classes of three years duration respectively. A Board of Governors was established to oversee the running of the school.

To facilitate effective administration, Military and Academic training, the school is segmented into 5 main Wings: The Headquarters, Military wing, Education Wing, Boys Battalion and the Administrative Company.

The first Commandant of the School, then known as Boys Company, was Captain WU Bassey. Since the establishment of this great Military institution, it has at various times been commanded by distinguished Military Officers.


Former students, commonly known as Ex-boys, have been successful in the Nigerian Armed Forces. Notable alumni include Gen. IBM Haruna, Major General Joseph Nanven Garba, Tunde Idiagbon, Buba Marwa, John Nanzip Shagaya, Salihu Ibrahim, Gen Tanko Ayuba, Senator David Mark, Mr Tunde Adesogan, Hon Adole Ameh Raphael, Hon Ponmah Durfa,Arch Dimka, Hon Kingsley Elebo(CEO Techstuff Nigeria),Actor Olasunkanmi Omobolanle and two winners on the popular Who Wants to be a Millionaire Franchise Ime Isua-Ikoh and Adewale Nurudeen Shinaba. The establishment of the Nigerian Military School dates back to the colonial periods. It was part of the general process of Nigerianising the Army as independence became imminent. The origin of the School could be traced to 1951 when it was suggested by the West African Command that a “Boys Company” should be established in each of the four British colonies namely; Nigeria, Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra Leone and the Gambia along with the pattern of the “Boys Wing” in the British Army. The idea remained in gestation until 20 May 1954 when the School eventually came into being with an initial intake of thirty (30) Boys, known then as the first platoon. The primary aim of setting up the institution was “to inculcate the family tradition into the force.” Perhaps this explains why the 30 initial recruits of the platoon were mostly children of soldiers (see MARCHING ON – The Nigerian Military School. By Ahmadu and Famola. 1995). The singer D’banj enrolled, then dropped out.

Almost immediately after its establishment, the School became a full-fledged training institution under the regimentation and administration of the defunct Nigerian Regimental Training Centre (NRTC) now Depot Nigerian Army. This however did not make the institution a subsidiary of NRTC.

Education curriculum

The Nigerian Military School gives its students both academic and military training. Every boy soldier as the students are called has one day a week dedicated strictly to military training while the other four days of the week are dedicated to academic training. The students used to be optionally enrolled into the Nigerian Army as private soldiers on the successful completion of their training, in 1999 it became compulsory for graduating students to join the Nigerian Army.


To encourage sporting activities and competition as attendance increased, four houses were created: Exham, Inglis, FairBanks and Swynnerton. These names were later changed to Giffard, Tranchard, Whistler and Lugard.

As the School changed to School certificate status shortly after independence, the house names were also changed to Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna. The new names were chosen to reflect the regional capitals of the country.

In 1976, two additional houses were added and the names were again changed. The new house names reflected military company designations: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot.

One additional has been added: Gulf, the 7th company. In late 2003, the School changed to the old names of Kaduna, Lagos, Ibadan and Enugu, with Abuja, Calabar and Zaria given to the additional new companies of Echo, Foxtrot and Gulf.

Nigeria Military School, Zaria: Elite Training Institution for Young Nigerian Men

Since the establishment of the Nigerian Military School, the institution has contributed in all walks of life and remains the center of excellence in its distinct role of training and moulding Nigeria children just coming out of primary schools into intelligent, disciplined, Industrious, patriotic and hard working young boys.

The initial group of students was known as the “First Platoon” who were sons and wards of serving military personnel. However its military history can be traced to 1951 when the idea of establishing “Boys Company” along the same pattern of the Boys Wing of British Army was conceived for each of the West African Colonies Namely: the Gambia, Gold Cost (Ghana), Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

In 1960, the name “Boys Company” was changed to “Nigerian Military School” with four houses namely; Enugu, Ibadan, Kaduna, and Lagos House. To boost academic Excellency, Major Wakeman, a graduate, was appointed from the British Army Education Corps as Commanding Officer in 1962. The School therefore commenced five set years training programmed as a secondary school. In 1965 the first set of boys wrote the WAEC Examination in which they performed creditably well. Since then, the school’s performance in such examination has been good.

With the introduction of the New National policy on education, the school now runs a six-year training programme broken into Junior and Senior Secondary school of three years duration each. All the subjects required by this policy are being taught in the school by able and qualified Officers, Soldiers, Civilian Staff and Youth Corp members. To enhance its status, the Board of Governors was established to oversee the running of the school.

The school from its establishment to date has produced numerous Senior Military officers and Senior Staff in both Government and Private sectors. In contributions to economic and socio – political development in Nigeria can be seen by its products in all fields of our lives. Its alumni include Generals Tunde Idiagbon, Joseph Garba, John Shagaya, Jeremiah Useni, John Inienger, Salihu Ibrahim, Buba Marwa, Yakubu Mu’azu, Alexander Ogomudia, AK Adisa.Garba Ali Muhammed


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