Sunday, December 10, 2023

CHARI MAGUMERI – The Man Lokoja Army Barracks Was Named After

Chari Magumeri was a brave and impressive-looking soldier, and Army barracks Lokoja was named after him many years after his death.

Chari “Charley” Magumeri was born in 1897 in Borno, Nigeria.

During the Great War, he enlisted into a colonial unit of the ancient Imperial German Army at the age of sixteen. He was then awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class for his bravery in the field against the British Soldiers in Northern Cameroon.

The Germans military eventually promoted him to the rank of sergeant.

When the British soldiers and government occupied part of that territory, Magumeri was inducted into the West African Frontier Force in 1917.

He served in 5th Bn. The Nigerian Regiment, same place in which his father had previously served for twenty-six years, and has been described as a distinguished man, which would have pleased his father, if he was still alive.

In this photo, RSM Chari Magumeri can be seen wearing the ribbons of the MM, VM, BWM, BEM, 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star, Africa Star, Defense Medal, War Medal with MID Oakleaf, 1937 Coronation Medal and the Army LSGC Medal.

He clearly qualified for The Defense Medal during his time in Abyssinia (Modern day Ethiopia), and India.

No one knows if he still has his German documents and his 1914 EK2 medal or if these were ceased from him in 1917 after the Word War I.

He would have had every right to wear the 1914 EK2 medal even as Civilian after he retired. He would also have been eligible for the “Hindenburg Cross” of 1934.

In 1928, Chari Magumeri was Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of 3rd Battalion the Nigerian Regiment.

The regiment which Magumeri belongs was later transferred to India with 81st West African Division, fighting in the Naga Hills and in Burma with the 14th Army, where he became an MID.

He also received the British Empire Medal in 1944 for his long and excellent service. After his return to Nigeria at the end of the war, RSM Magumeri MM BEM MID was involved in training duties and was promoted to Captain on his retirement from military service in 1953.

His name cannot be easily forgotten amongst those Nigerians with a sense of pride in their nation and its history but for many years even after his death, there were no military establishments named after him, perhaps because his achievements happened before Nigeria’s independence.

He played a major part in the shaping of a new generation of Nigerian soldiers today.

Chari Maigumeri was a brave and impressive-looking soldier. Army barracks Lokoja was named after him many years after his death.

This photo was taken on the 21st of May 1953, featuring Royal Sergeant Major Chari Magumeri, a member of the Nigerian Regiment, Standing beside him is Lieutenant Colonel M M Davie, at Woolwich Barracks, London.

The regiment was part of the colonial contingent which took part in a military parade during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Do you think Lokoja is a small town?