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  • Post By Izaddin Chafe
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In the year 1951, the British brought up an idea of establishing the Boys Company with the same pattern as the boy's Wing of the British Army for each of the 4 British West African Colonies, namely the Gambia, Ghana (formerly Gold Coast), Nigeria and Sierra Leone, this was achieved and it kicked off on the 20th of May 1954. The school started with a platoon strength of 30 boys with boy Musa Usman (later Brigadier in the Nigerian Airforce) as the 1st Boy Company Sergeant Major (BCSM).

The Boys Company as a symbol of identification was designed to having a distinct logo consisting of 3 stars which donates the former regions in Nigeria as at then namely East, North, and West. Beneath them is an eagle, which is noted for its gracefulness, strength, and very good eyesight. Capt. WU Bassey, an Infantry Officer, who was then the Commandant of Depot was tasked with the duties of overseeing the entire activities of the  Boys Company before a substantive officer was appointed. 

In 1956 two sets of platoons, the 3rd and 4th Platoons were enlisted instead of just a single platoon like it was with the 1st platoon (1954) and 2nd platoon (1955). In 1959 (9th and 10th platoons), two Boys from Cameroon were admitted into the Boys Company namely Boy Phillip Tangi and Boy Edet Cheh.

Also with directives from the then Premier of Northern Nigeria, two Boys from the 1959 set were selected based on merit to attend the Indian Military Academy from their class 3, this Boys were Boy  LCPL Zamani Lekwot former Military Governor of Rivers and former GOC of 82 Division, who later rose to the rank of Major General in the Nigerian Army, and Boy Boy LCPL Isah Ahmed who rose to the rank of Colonel.

Boy LCPL Lekwot and Boy LCPL Ahmed

To encourage sporting activities and competition as attendance increased in the Boys Company, 4 Houses were created namely: Exham, Inglis, Fairbanks, and Swynnerton. These names were later changed to Giffard, Trenchard, Whistler, and Lugard. After the Nigerian Independence in 1960, the Boys Company was changed to the Nigerian Military School (NMS) and the house names changed to Kaduna, Lagos, Ibadan, and Enugu to reflect the regional capitals of the country. The system of grading boys into platoons continued until it stopped with the 19th and 20th platoons of the 1964 set.

In 1976, two additional houses were added and the names were changed again to reflect the  Military Company designations: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, and Foxtrot. To cater for the increasing number of intakes into the school, a new storey building was built in the mammy market area of the school in 1997. The school authority decided to move whichever Company became champion to occupy the building each session. Foxtrot Company became champions for 3 consecutive years hence moved into the new building and permanently occupied it and the former Foxtrot Company building was renamed Golf Company. In late 2003, the school reverted to the old names to depict important towns in Nigeria namely: Kaduna, Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Abuja, Calabar, and Zaria Company.

Year     1960 1976 1997 2003
Nomenclature House House House Company Company Company
  Exham Giffard Kaduna Alpha Alpha Kaduna
Inglis Trenchard Lagos Bravo Bravo Lagos
Fairbanks Whistler Ibadan Charlie Charlie Ibadan
Swynnerton Lugard Enugu Delta Delta Enugu
  Echo Echo Abuja
Foxtrot Foxtrot Calabar
  Golf Zaria
Evolution of House and Company Names

Late Brigadier (NAF) Musa Usman became the 1st BCSM of Boys Company in 1954 while Exboy Thomas Dickson became the 1st BRSM in 1977 and the rank structure of Boys Appointment was upgraded to having WO 1 (now MWO) as the BRSM. Exboy Thomas Dickson remains the only Boy to have combined both the appointments of BRSM and BPM at the same time.

The 1st and 2nd Platoons ( 1954 and 1955 sets) had the least intake of Boys (30 boys each) while NMS 95 had the highest intake of Boys (570 Boys). The 72-76 set was the first set to number up to 120 boys. The set also had a Liberian Esterly Taylor Major, however, he did not come back from the long holiday of 1975 to complete his class 5 as Gen. Yakubu Gowon who was instrumental to his admission into NMS was overthrown.

In 1973, two sets were admitted, Jan 73/77 set and Sept 73/78 set. The NMS 77 set was the 1st set to use the present format of NMS No's with NMS/77/001 Exboy Ishaya Abdullahi with the most senior NMS No in that format. In 1987, no set was admitted hence there is no NMS 87. After NMS 86, their immediate juniors were NMS 88. In 1990, NMS duration was changed to 6 years with NMS 86 being the first set to spend 6 years passing out in 1992, there was no POP held in the year 1991 in NMS.

In 1991, two sets were admitted, the NMS 91 set and the NMS 9192 set. NMS 91 Exboy Fauziyyu Ma'aji the then BPM introduced the emblems currently used b the B/PM. The Champion Bars were introduced in 2004 by the then commandant, Col. IG Bauka. The background comprises of the initial company colours (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta Coys) with a number of white stripes indicating one's class. Ibadan (Charlie) Company Boys were the first beneficiaries of this innovation.

On the morning of the POP of NMS 94 set in July 2000, the new NMS Anthem was unveiled. It was officially sung for the first time by the composer, LCPL WW Fakidoma with 30 Boys. Brig. Gen. James Ayodele Fayehun of the 73/78 set is currently the only Exboy to have commanded the prestigious NMS and MWO Danjuma Suleiman also of the 73/78 set, is the first Exboy to serve as NMS Unit RSM.

Izaddin Chafe

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