Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents



Although the military history of the West African region extends back a millennium or more, Nigeria's present-day armed forces, like those of most African states, are the direct descendants of colonial military units. The officer corps was made fully indigenous by the mid-1960s, and in 1990 the Nigerian armed forces were among the largest and most professional in Africa. The military and political functions and international peacekeeping roles of the armed forces have expanded significantly but remained subject to several constraints. Nigeria was still heavily dependent on foreign arms but had embarked on a program of military industrialization. Voluntary military service and a large demographic base made recruitment easy, and training was highly professional. Nigeria's long-term challenge was to define its strategic interests and military missions more precisely and to achieve an appropriate modernized force structure to meet them.

Data as of June 1991