oa Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - Colonial army recruitment patterns and post-colonial military coups d'etat in Africa : the case of Nigeria, 1966-1993



Since time immemorial, societies, states and state builders have been challenged and transformed by the need and quest for military manpower. European states relied on conscript armies to 'pacify' and retain colonies in parts of the non-European world. These facts underscore the meticulous attention paid by the British to the recruitment of their colonial forces in Africa. In the Niger basin for one, conscious efforts were made by individual agents of the British Crown and at official level to ensure that only members of designated groups were recruited into those colonial forces that facilitated the establishment of the Nigerian supra-national state. The end of colonial rule and shifts in military recruitment policies hardly erased the vestiges of colonial recruitment from the Nigerian military. The study on which this article is based and which examines Britain's policies on military human resource recruitment as state-building initiatives, argued that military coups d'etat in Nigeria can be traced back to colonial and post-colonial recruitment patterns for military human resources.


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