British Empire Article

Courtesy of OSPA

by Dogon Yaro (Ronald Bird)
The Day's Work and Odd Jobs:
The Queen's visit to Jos
Queen's Arrival in Jos, 1956
My next posting was to Jos in Plateau Province. It was a far cry from the wilds of Borgu Division to the mixed urban population of Jos and Bukuru and the pagan farming settlements which competed to some extent with the large-scale open-cast mining for tin and tantalite. New problems included the expansion of a minefield reclamation unit to restore the mined land for farming, the building of permanent steel and aluminium market lock-up stalls for the very large and growing Jos market, and the setting up of an effective N A Tax Committee to administer an income tax system to tax the growing numbers of rich traders at reasonable rates.

During my second tour in Jos Division there occurred one of the occasional all-change postings with a new Resident and this involved for me a pleasant move away from the town to more basic administrative work as District Officer of Lowland Division of Plateau Province. However before I left Jos, news came through that H M The Queen was going to visit Jos as part of her Nigeria tour of 1956. It turned out that the Queen and Prince Philip would spend a weekend at Jos resting from their punishing tour schedule and would stay at Tudun Wada Cottage, the Governor's Jos retreat. Security was an important part of the planning operation and a Commander from Scotland Yard arrived to work out with us the details of all their Majesties would do in Jos after their arrival at Jos airfield from Kaduna.

Two months later I came up from Shendam in Lowland Division to help execute the plans on which I had originally been involved. The Resident informed me that I was to be in charge of a group of some 200 horsemen from Bauchi and Gombe Emirates and a contingent of Bornu N A Mounted Police, whose duty was to form a security ring round the somewhat open Jos airfield and act as an unofficial guard of honour. I asked the Resident if I could wear uniform for this mounted task but he replied that as the visit was considered to be unofficial, uniform was not appropriate and I should wear a tweed jacket and a pork-pie hat! I thought this was quite unsuitable dress to lead the bands of magnificent Emirate horsemen and protested vigorously but the Resident was adamant. However, I had other ideas and having got to know the leaders of the Bauchi horsemen I asked them what they thought about it. Some of them had ridden over 150 miles to parade before the Queen in all their finery and were determined to mount an impressive display, and when I suggested that I should dress as them they were tickled pick by the idea and provided me with a large colourful riga and voluminous pink turban. I informed the Resident what I and the Bauchi horsemen had decided to do and the two ADQs helping me were kitted out in similar flamboyant style. The great day came and we formed up at Jos airfield with a select few as a guard of honour along the airfield road. As H M the Queen drove past I joined the rest of the Bauchi horsemen in the traditional Hausa acclamation and salute with a raised fist.

Africa Map
1955 Map of Kaduna Region
Colony Profile

Originally Published
OSPA Journal 104: October 2012


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