List of Military Forces in Nigeria


List of Military Forces in Nigeria

The Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF) is the combined military forces of Nigeria. It consists of three uniformed service branches: the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, and Nigerian Air Force. The President of Nigeria functions as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, exercising his constitutional authority through the Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the management of the military and its personnel. The operational head of the NAF is the Chief of the Defense Staff, who is subordinate to the Nigerian Defense Minister. The military is an organized instrument of the government saddled with the responsibility of protecting and defending the state against internal and external attacks. They usually swing into full action during war. They are authorized to make use of deadly weapons to protect and support the state. The officers of the military are well-trained in combat and war.

In Nigeria, there are three major armed forces in the military. These are – the Navy, the Army and the Air force. These armed forces took off officially after the country was granted independence in the year 1960. So far, the Nigerian military has engaged her in just one warfare which is the Nigerian Civil war which broke out in 1967. The three arms of the Nigerian military joined forces en mass to overcome the Biafran Army. Since then, they have been engaged only in peace keeping during insurgency within and outside the country. They fought the Niger­ Delta militants, Boko haram insurgents and lately, the Fulani herdsmen. The Nigerian military have also been sent to other UN and ECOWAS nations for peace keeping such as the ECOMOG.


The 3 Military Forces in Nigeria

The 3 Military Forces in Nigeria

Military Forces in Nigeria consists of three uniformed service branches:

1.     The Nigerian Army

2.     Nigerian Air Force

3.     Nigerian Navy



The Nigerian Army is the branch of the Nigerian military that takes charge of war on Land. They defend the nation during civil unrest. This branch of the armed forces was ranked among the strongest military in Africa. The Army also offer support to the paramilitary forces when need arises. The Nigerian Army is headed by the Chief of Army staff who oversees the activities of the Army.

Over the years, the Nigerian Army was once rated as the best in Africa, but it’s no longer so probably because of their delay and approach in eliminating the Boko Haram insurgents and the Fulani herdsmen. The Nigerian Army has taken part in various successful peacekeeping missions most notably in Sierra Leone and Liberia.



The Nigerian air force is the wing of the Nigerian military that is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the Nation via the aerial route. They are the Lords of the Air. They are in charge if airlifting the Nation’s Army to and from warfare. The Air force defends the nation against Aerial attacks. They give the necessary backing and support to the Navy and the Army.

The Nigerian Air force has been engaged in various airline defense actions. Notable is their role in the peacekeeping tours in Congo and Tanzania in 1961. There was a dire need for well-trained Airmen to Airlift the Army to the tours. This instigated the formation of the Air force. The Nigerian Air force has since then been at the fore front of defending the Nation’s Aerial territory.

They have complemented the Army in many areas like Airlifting of troops, combat actions and delivery of specialized weapons. The first assignment undertaken by the Nigerian Air force was the Nigerian civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970.



The Nigerian Navy is the arm of the Nigerian military that takes charge of the water warfare. They defend the Nigerian waterway territory, patrol to curb crime in the waterways and ensure safe delivery and shipping of crude oil. The Nigerian Navy first came into formation in the colonial era. They were known as the royal Navy under the marine military. They then took part in the First World War when they joined forces with Cameroon to fight the Germans.

After the independence, they were fully given the mandate to operate as the Nigerian Navy. They boosted their strengths by training and recruiting new servicemen. The Nigerian Navy complements the efforts of the Army. This was mainly evidenced during the Civil war. They ensured that the seaways were protected. They stopped the Biafran Army from importing weapons via the waterways. They took control of the major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri and Lagos. The Nigerian Navy has over the years been involved in various security combats. They ensure that the waterways are safe for oil exploration, they fight sea Thieves and block illegal entrance and shipping in of weapons.


Mechanisms and impacts of military force in Nigeria

 Militarizes are hierarchical organizations that specialize in the deployment of violence, so it is often assumed that militarizes rule by force and by force alone. However, military rule often involves complicated attempts to secure some measure of consent from the governed. Some military regimes, for example, have permitted elections to national and subnational representative bodies. Others have used judiciaries, of varying degrees of independence, to approximate or simulate the rule of law. Still others have promulgated, and sometimes actually adhered to, constitutions. Even so, the application of military law to civilians and the threat or use of extrajudicial repression (such as torture, disappearances, and killings) by the state’s security forces studies are commonplace under military regimes.

Although part of the state apparatus, militaries enjoy a high degree of relative autonomy because of their control over the means of coercion. (That control, though still significant in most places, does not necessarily represent a monopoly, because of the prevalence of irregular armed forces in the developing world.) However, militaries do not constitute a monolithic single actor. They are hierarchically divided between a high command, junior officers, and enlisted personnel, and horizontal competition and rivalry between the different service branches (typically the army, navy, and air force) can be intense. Further, they are often divided along class, regional, and gender lines (although militaries in most developing countries still allow only very-limited roles for women). In ethnically divided societies, variation in rates of military recruitment across the major ethnic groups can result in the armed forces being seen as constituted by, or representing, one ethnic group against others. All those divisions tend to be exacerbated when the military comes to power, and many military regimes have foundered as a result of their inability to manage them.

Military rule increases the probability of subsequent military coups and attempted coups. The rewards of direct rule often increase competition and conflict within the armed forces. Some military regimes attempt to manage that competition by, for example, allocating the spoils of office equitably between the different service branches. (That was true of the 1976–83 military regime in Argentina.) Other military regimes carefully monitor and purge personnel within the armed forces and the state as a whole.

Military regimes also tend to foster militarism or the glorification of war and military prowess. Many military leaders see politics as a continuation of war by other means. That leads them to resort to force in the resolution of conflicts. Military rulers may demand that civilian organizations develop hierarchical and disciplined configurations along military lines.

Such demands can backfire. Some military regimes have inadvertently stimulated a flowering of oppositional cultural and political activity, as artists, students, religious leaders, dissidents, and others express themselves in new ways in opposition to the authoritarianism inherent in military rule. The attempted imposition of martial standards of behaviour on recalcitrant populations can produce rare moments of political electricity in which large numbers of people are united in defiance of the generals. The popularity of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the outspoken musician and critic of military rule in Nigeria, or the participation of many of the most popular artists of the day in the “Direct Elections Now” (Diretas Já) campaign in Brazil in 1984 are cases in point.

In conclusion, the military plays very vital role in Nation development. The importance of security is enormous. Insecurity and insurgency thwarts the development and growth of the nation. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration if I say that the pace of development of any community, state or nation is directly proportional to the security of lives and property. The presence of massive security encourages the populace to engage in activities that bring about development. War and insecurity reduces the pace of development.

Post a Comment