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Established in 1964, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) was designed to train cadets that would eventually be commissioned into the 3 Services of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The duration of training then was 30 months; the first 18 months were academic-heavy culminating in the writing of the Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education (NDACE). The possession of the NDACE was a requirement for commission as regular combatant officer. The first batch of cadets (Regular Course 1) numbering 60, started training on 20 January 1964.
Though the NDA was designed to train regular cadets only, the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 - 1970 witnessed the dearth of officers required to prosecute the war, thus necessitating the training of cadets within shorter durations. Those hurriedly trained to fight in the war were known as the Emergency Commission Officers. This type of training had long been discontinued.

Besides the regular training, the NDA carries out short service and direct regular training of 6 - 9 months duration. The regular training is currently run for 5 years

The NDA logo consists of green colour on red. The green represents youthfulness and vitality while the red depict fullness with zeal and readiness to shed blood for national cause. Centrally embossed on the background are crossed swords, anchor and wing representing the army, navy and air force, respectively. Sitting on this arrangement is the eagle, which is the national symbol, depicting strength. Inscribed below is the motto "Loyalty and Valour".
The choice of loyalty in the motto was to emphasize to the young cadet, the need to subordinate him self totally to constituted authority. The valour component of the motto stresses the need for courage in all the cadet's undertakings.
 
The NDA is organized into a headquarters where the Commandant, Deputy Commandant, the Principal Staff Officer Coordination (PSO -Coord) and the Academy Adjutant amongst others, can be found. Other segments of the NDA include the following:
1 Directorate of Military Training (DMT)
2. Cadets Brigade (CB).
3. Directorate of Administration (DOA).
4. Directorate of Logistics (DOL).
5. Directorate of Finance (DOF).
6. Academic Branch.

The functions of the above-listed departments are self-evident but it may be necessary to add that the CB comprises 5 battalions, namely:
1. Abyssinia Battalion.
2. Burma Battalion.
3. Dalet battalion.
4. Mogadishu battalion.
5. Ashanti Battalion (for Short Service and Direct Regular Cadets). The current cadet strength is over 1000.

Some elaboration on the Academic Branch would need to be done. Following the introduction of degree programmes in 1985, the Academic Branch was expanded to handle the degree programmes. For all intents and purposes, the Branch operates like a university and is so recognized by the National Universities Commission (NUC) which coordinates and monitors all universities in Nigeria. The Branch is headed by the Academy Provost a university administrator appointed by the Academy Board. The Branch consist of 3 faculties, 14 departments, the Registry and the Academy Library. These components of the Branch operate in a similar fashion as in conventional universities.

Fifteen different degrees in Science, Engineering, Arts and Social Sciences are offered in the 14 departments. The NUC ensure high standards are maintained in all degree programmes through constant monitoring in the NDA programmes. Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigerian (COREN) also monitors the engineering programmes of the Academy. External examiners from other universities are annually invited by the Academy to monitor examinations of final year cadets. Each department has a number of qualified academic staff recruited from the academia. In addition, qualified military officers from the three Armed Forces are posted in to teach in relevant departments. There are supporting staff of administrative and technological persuasions in relevant departments

 

With the ongoing restructuring to accommodate the 4 - year programme, however, some degree programmes will be merged while a few will be abolished.

Within a short life-span of its becoming a degree-awarding institution, the NDA has been graded 9th in order of merit amongst the 42 Nigerian universities by the NUC. Its History Department was rated 1st whilst its Electrical/Electronic department was considered 4th.

CADETS SEATED DURING ACADEMIC GRADUATION CEREMONY
 

The entire requirements for the courses are not exactly the same.

REGULAR COMBATANT COURSE
A candidate for the regular combatant course must amongst others, satisfy the following conditions:
1. He must be between the ages of 18 to 20.
2. He must possess at least 5 credits, including English and Mathematics, in a relevant field of study when admitted.
3. He must be medically and physically fit.
4. He must be at least 1.58 metres tall.
5. He must not have any criminal record.

SHORT SERVICE COMBATANT COURSE
The entire requirements for the Short Service Course are similar except for age requirements and academic qualification. In their stead, a candidate should be between the ages of 25 and 35. Also, whilst Service personnel are required to possess at least 5 credits, including English and Mathematics, their civilian counterparts are expected to have attained a first degree or national diploma status.

DIRECT REGULAR COURSE
The Direct Regular Course (DRC) is meant for those who have acquired some profession, like doctors, engineers, nurses to mention few. Besides possessing requisite degrees or diplomas, other entry requirements as earlier specified would apply.

FORMAL INAUGURATION AND CHRONOLOGY COMMAND
The NDA became functional on 20 January 1964 when the cadets of Regular Course 1 started training under the watchful eyes of Brigadier General MR Varma, an Indian. Most of the instructors until the 70s were Indians. As time wore on, the Nigerian officers, who had earlier graduated from the NDA, came of age and gradually replaced the Indians.

Brigadier General MR Varma spent 5 years and was succeeded by:
1 Brigadier General DA Ejoor Jan 69 - Jan 71
2 Major General AR Adebayo  Apr 71 - Mar 74
3 Major General E Ekpo Feb 74 - Aug 75
4 Major General ID Bisalla Feb 75 - Aug 75
5 Major General GS Jalo Aug 75 - Jan 78
6 Brigadier General ESO Armah Jan 78 - Jul 78
7 Major General JN Garba  Jul 78 - Dec 79
8 Brigadier General Z Lekwot Dec 79 - Oct 81
9 Major General A Shelleng  Nov 81 - Jan 84
10 Major General PC Tarfa Jan 84 - Jan 88
11 Major General S Ibrahim Jan 88 - Jan 90
12 Major General G Duba Jan 90 - Feb 92
13 Major General AG Mohammed Feb 92 - Jan 93
14 Lieutenant General MB Haladu Jan 93 - Apr 95
15 Air Vice Mashal AM Dagash Apr 95 - Jul 98
16 Major General BS Magashi Jul 98 - Jun 99
17 Major General PG Sha Jul 99 - Mar 01
18 Major General TL Ashei Mar 01-August 02
19 Maj Gen OE Okon August 02 to date
 
 
 
 
 
 
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