13 Brigade Nigerian Army Barracks in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria, has been upgraded with additional thirty-two new flats for soldiers and their families.
The 13 Brigade, which is the first Nigerian army barrack constructed by British colonialist in 1912, many locals believe served as training grounds for soldiers who fought World War 1 in 1914.
Most of the buildings are well preserved and still in use for one hundred and five years, while a few others now referred to as “batcher houses” have been replaced with modern day homes.
The Commander of the Army headquarters, Brigadier General AbdulMalik Bulama Biu said “the Chief of Army Staff in commitment to the overall welfare of the soldiers and their families decided to replace all dilapidated living quarters with these modern day structures you see here.”
According to Biu, investing to build new living quarters for soldiers and their families was a show of commitment and determination to a better welfare and boost morale of the men, who are combating insurgency in north-east Nigeria.
“We appreciate the gesture of Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai for making sure that new buildings emerge from the shanties, which have been standing here since 1912 when this barracks was established. This new accommodation is a show of determination and commitment”, he said.
General Biu stated that the construction of a storey building and another 48 flats would be completed to accommodate 68 soldiers and their families.
Some of the beneficiaries represented by their wives applauded the gesture of the Army Chief as they each received the keys to their one-bedroom flat apartment from Biu.
Nafisat AbdulRaman said “I thank the Chief of Army Staff and the Brigade Commander for their effort because living in the batcher was not easy. But, today we are happy.”
Another beneficiary Mrs. Inne Amamina stated “God has brought Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai to give us succour and relief from the old and dilapidated building. This is the best Chief of Army Staff.”
On November 24, 2016, the Chief of Army Staff commissioned thirty six flat for Corporals and below using what is described as “direct labour” for cost effectiveness.