• Short Summary

    On Tuesday (1 October), Nigeria celebrated its fourteenth anniversary of independence. At a ceremony in?

  • Description

    On Tuesday (1 October), Nigeria celebrated its fourteenth anniversary of independence. At a ceremony in Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, head of State General Yakubu Gowon took the salute for a march-past of representatives of the country's armed forces and police service. The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute.

    In a broadcast to the nation on the same day, General Gowon retracted a four year-old pledge to return Nigeria to civilian rule in 1976, saying that this "precipitate" move would plunge the country into chaos. Nigeria has been ruled by a mixed military-civilian government since the army took power in 1966. General Gowon emphasised that the government had not abandoned the idea of return to full civilian government but that "It would ???deed amount to a betrayal of trust to adhere rigidly to that target date" in present circumstances.

    During the broadcast, General Gowon announced that a panel would be appointed in due course to draw up a new draft constitution, which, after government approval, would be referred to the Nigerian people. He added that civilian participation in the existing government structure would be broadened by the establishment of advisory councils at federal and state level with membership drawn from a cross-section of the population. The new set of federal commisioners to be appointed for January 1975 will also include more civilian representatives.

    General gowon continued by outlining a 20,000 million Naira (GBP 13,800 sterling) national development scheme for 1975-1980. the scheme is aimed at boosting agriculture as well as expanding the country's growing oil industry.

    SYNOPSIS: Groups of schoolchildren celebrated the independence anniversary in the same fashion as their elders. Many would not even have been born when Nigeria gained her independence in nineteen sixty.

    And General Gowon was honoured with three hearty cheers to end the ceremony.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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