Military of Nigeria

Military of Nigeria

Infobox National Military
name=Nigerian Armed Forces


branches=Army, Navy, Air Force
manpower_data=2005 est.
percent_GDP=1.5% (2006)
The Military of Nigeria has active duty personnel in three armed services, totalling approximately 85,000 troops and 82,000 paramilitary personnel. [IISS Military Balance 2007, Routledge, p.286] It origins lie in the elements of the Royal West African Frontier Force that became Nigerian when independence was granted in 1960. In 1956 the Nigeria Regiment of the RWAFF was renamed the Nigerian Military Forces, RWAFF, and in April 1958 the colonial government of Nigeria took over from the British War Office control of the Nigerian Military Forces. [ [ Library of Congress Country Studies, Nigeria] ]

Since its creation the Nigerian military has fought in a civil war – the conflict with Biafra in 1967-70 – and sent peacekeeping forces abroad both with the United Nations and as the backbone of the ECOWAS-sponsored ECOWAS Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also seized power twice at home (1966 & 1983) and today ‘has become entrenched in all facets of [Nigerian] civic and economic life,’ including manipulation of national political life – General Sani Abacha’s creation of artificial political parties – and a central role in the control and management of Nigeria’s oil wealth. [J. ‘Kayode Fayemi, ‘Governing the Security Sector in a Democratising Polity: Nigeria’ in Gavin Cawthra & Robin Luckham (eds) Governing Insecurity: Democratic Control of Military and Security Establishments in Transitional Democracies, Zed Books, London/New York, 2003, pp.57-77]



During the Second World War, British-trained Nigerian troops saw action with the 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade, the 81st and the 82nd (West Africa) Divisions who fought in the East African Campaign (World War II) and the Far East.

The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 67,000 [IISS Military Balance 2007, p.287] personnel deployed in the: 1st and 2nd Mechanized Infantry Divisions (headquarters in Kaduna and Ibadan respectively), 3rd Armoured Division (HQ in Jos), 81st Division (Amphibious) HQ in Lagos, 82nd Division (Airborne and Amphibious) HQ in Enugu, and the Abuja-based Guards Brigade. Divisions in the Nigerian Army were first formed during the Nigerian Civil War, when in August-September 1967, 1 Area Command at Kaduna was redesignated 1 Infantry Division, 2 Division was formed under Colonel Murtala Mohammed, and the then Lagos Garrison Organisation was renamed 3 Infantry Division, later to become 3 Marine Commando Division. [General Olunsegun Obasanjo, 'My Command: An Account of the Nigerian Civil War 1967-70,' Heinemann, Ibadan/London/Nairobi, p.18 (Via Joint Services Command and Staff College Library)]

The 1st Division is located in the north-west, the 2nd Division in the South-West, the 3rd Division in the North-East and the 82nd Division in the South-East. Lagos and Abuja have garrison commands with the Lagos garrison as large as a division. 81 Division was the youngest Division in the Nigerian Army. The Division was formed on 26 May 2002 when the Lagos Garrison Command (as it then was) was upgraded to a full-fledged Division. The Division therefore inherited the security roles hitherto performed by the defunct Lagos Garrison Command. [ [ Nigerian Army Website] , accessed August 2008] However a later undated article in a Nigerian online newspaper says the 81 Division was later again renamed the Lagos Garrison Command. In the 1980s, the Army's brigades included the 7th Infantry Brigade in Sokoto and the 13th Amphibious Brigade in Calabar. Today the 9th Brigade is based at the Ikeja compound in Lagos. There are also Divisional Artillery Brigades, ordinance corps units as well as Combat Engineer Regiments, and many other service support units spread across the country.

The Army has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain brigade-sized forces in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia. Smaller forces have been previously sent to the former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone.Fact|date=August 2008 Ex-President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo promoted and appointed Lt Gen Owoye Andrew Azazi as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CODS). Lt. Gen. Azazi was until his new appointment the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He replaced General Martin Luther Agwai who was also promoted and appointed as the Commander of African Forces in Darfur (the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur).

Lt. Gen. Azazi's appointment took effect from 1 June 2006, as contained in the statement dated 30 May 2006, issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Obong Ufot Ekaette.

The current COAS is Maj. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau who replaced Lt. Gen. Luka M. Yusuf in August 2008. [ [ Dambazau: A General's General] , accessed September 2008] Dambazau's previous service includes time with 146 Infantry Battalion as a junior officer, command of 1 Provost Group and 3 Provost Group, and command of 2 Division.


* M16 rifle
* FN FAL rifle
* Heckler & Koch G3 rifle
* Daewoo K2 rifle
* SIG SG 540 rifle
* FN FNC rifle
* FN MAG machine gun
* Beretta M 1951 pistol
* Walther P5 pistol
* Blowpipe missile (MANPADS) - 48 launchers [ [ ] ]
* ZSU-23-4 (SPAAG)
* ZU-23-2 (air defence gun) - 20
* BM-21 (rocket artillery) - 11
* L16 81mm Mortar
* M-46 (field gun) - 7
* OTO Melara Mod 56 (howitzer) - 18 [ [] ]
* T-55 (medium tank) - 50
* T-72 (mdium tank) - 77 [ [ UN nations register] ]
* BTR-60 (APC) - 6
* BTR-3 (APC) - 47 [ [ UN nations register] ]


In 1887, the Colonial Government of Nigeria established the Lagos Marine as a quasi-military organization combining the duties of present day Nigeria Ports Authority, the Inland Waterways and the maritime policing duties of modern day Navy. [, accessed February 2008] When Northern and Southern Nigeria were brought together as one country in 1914, the two marine forces became the Nigeria Marine, and on 1 June 1956 after lobbying for a full-fledged naval force instead of a ports authority, the Nigerian Naval Force was established.

The Nigerian Navy command structure today consists of the Naval Headquarters based in Abuja, two operational commands with headquarters in Lagos and Calabar, two training commands with headquarters in Lagos but with training facilities spread all over Nigeria, two operational bases, five forward operational bases (with two more soon to come on stream), two dockyards located in Lagos and Port Harcourt and two fleets based in Lagos and Calabar. The Navy has 8,000 personnel, including those of the Coast Guard. [IISS Military Balance 2007, p.287]

The commander of the Nigerian Navy is Vice Admiral II Ibrahim, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS). He is assisted by 7 principal staff officers at the Headquarters known as Branch Chiefs. The PSOs are:, The Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral SU Umosen (who may have been succeeded by Rear Admiral Os Ibrahim), the Chief of Training and Operations, Chief of Accounts and Budget, Rear Admiral Jonah, the Chief of Naval Engineering, Commodore S Orishamolade, the Chief of Logistics, and Rear Admiral I B Acholonu, the Navy Secretary.

Each of the Branches consists of Directorates. The Administration Branch, for instance, consists of Directorate of Education (headed by Cdre TO Olawumi) and Directorate of Medical Services (headed by Cdre K Ibe Lambert). The Directorate of Naval Information, headed by Captain H Babalola, is under the Chief of Policy and Plans.

The commands are under the flag officers commanding. Rear Admiral II Ibrahim commands the Western Naval Command while Rear Admiral BA Raji commands the Eastern Naval Command. The Naval Training. The newly constituted Logistics Command is headed by Rear Admiral HOG Arogundade.

The Navy recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee in Lagos with a parade and a review of the fleet by the Commander in Chief, President Olusegun Obasanjo. To witness this colourful parade were the Chiefs of Naval Staff of African Navies and other friendly nations. In 2004, two Navy rear admirals were dismissed on corruption charges after having been convicted of involvement in the disappearance from Navy custody of the Russian oil tanker "African Pride". [ [ Naval Open Source Intelligence on the Nigerian Navy] , bottom two articles]

The IISS Military Balance 2007 lists the Nigerian Navy as having one MEKO 360 class frigate, NNS "Aradu", one Vosper Mk 9 corvette, "Enymiri" (F 83), two modified Italian "Lerici" class coastal minesweepers ("Ohue" and "Marabai", commissioned in 1987 and 1988 respectively) 3 French Combattante fast missile craft ("Siri", "Ayam", and "Ekun"), and four Balsam ocean patrol craft (ex buoy tenders). [IISS Military Balance 2007, Routledge, p.287. Most name and pennant number information is from Captain Richard Sharpe RN (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 1999-2000, Jane's Information Group, Coulsdon, Surry, p.485-7] All these vessels are listed as having their serviceability in doubt. Vessels which may be operational are a German Lurssen 57m coastal patrol craft, 12 Defender patrol boats, the landing ship tank NNS "Ambe" (LST 1312), and the five logistics and support ships: one survey vessel, three tugs, and the training ship "Ruwan Yaro" (A 497). There are two Agusta Westland Lynx Mk.89 ASW helicopters and three Agusta A-109 Hirundo/Power helicopters, all except the Lynxs are operational. However in late 2006/early 2007, a naval exercise was held which saw several previously thought unservicable ships involved. [Segun Adeyemi, 'Nigerian Navy exercise tests operational capability, 'Jane's Defence Weekly, Vol. 44, No. 5, 31 January 2007, p.16]

CONSTRAC is the Chief of the Naval Staff Annual Training Conference. The First CONSTRAC was held at Obudu in Cross River State in Nov 2006. The Nigerian Navy has just concluded the Second Chief of the Naval Staff Training Conference in Sokoto, Nigeria. It was held at Sultan Macido School of Qu'ran and General Studies between 29 Oct 07 and 2 Nov 07.

Air Force

The Nigerian Air Force (10,000 - IISS Military Balance 2007) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, of which the IISS says there is 'very limited operational capability'.

Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities. Nigeria has continued a strict policy of diversification in her military procurement from various countries.

Nigerian military forces abroad

In December 1983, the new Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime announced that Nigeria could no longer afford an activist anti-colonial role in Africa. That policy statement did not deter Nigeria under Generals Ibrahim Babangida in 1990 and Sani Abacha in 1997 from sending ECOMOG peacekeeping forces under the auspices of ECOWAS into Liberia and later Sierra Leone when civil wars broke out in those countries. President Olusegun Obasanjo in August 2003 committed Nigerian troops once again into Liberia, at the urging of the United States, to provide an interim presence until the UN's force UNMIL arrived. Charles Taylor was subsequently eased out of power and exiled to Nigeria.

In October 2004, Nigerian troops again deployed into Darfur, Sudan to spearhead an AU force to stop the genocide in Darfur. Nigeria boasts to have contributed more than 20,000 troops/police to various UN missions since 1960. Nigerian Police and troops have served in places like UNIPOM (UN India-Pakistan Observer mission) 1965, UNFIL Lebanon 1978,UN observer Mission (Iran-Iraq ceasefire) 1988, former Yugoslavia 1998, East-Timor 1998, and Democratic Republic of the Congo 2004.

ources and References

Further reading

*N.J. Miners, ‘The Nigerian Army 1956-66,’ Methuen and Co. Ltd, London, 1971

External links

* [ Nigerian Army]
* [ Nigerian Navy Education]
* [ Nigerian Navy Education 2]
* [ Nigerian Navy Education 3]
* [ Jane's Defence news on Nigerian Navy]
* [ Nigerian Military School, Zaria]
* [ CIA World Fact Book - Nigeria]

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