Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents


Organization, Mission, and Order of Battle

Nigeria's armed forces, sharply reduced from about 300,000 after the 1967-68 civil war (see Civil War , ch. 1) and undergoing continuing reductions into the 1990s, included the army, the navy (including coast guard), and the air force. Estimates of its size in late 1990 ranged from 94,500 to well over 100,000. In addition to military personnel, the defense establishment employed about 25,000 civilians. The military head of state, as commander in chief, exercised his authority through the AFRC, and operationally through the minister of defense and chief of Defence Staff, and the chiefs of staff of the three armed services. In September 1990, the post of chief of Defence Staff was elevated to full general and the service chiefs were also upgraded. The post of chief of General Staff, General Staff Headquarters, created after the August 1985 coup, was a political rather than a military post. It was abolished in September 1990, and its incumbent, Vice Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, was appointed to the new position of vice president. The National Defence Council and the National Security Council were responsible for deliberating on strategic national and international issues affecting the political stability or security of Nigeria and the region. Their specific functions were thought to include threat assessment, overall defense planning, coordination of military procurement, and joint operations. In 1989 a 265-member Armed Forces Consultative Assembly consisting of battalion commanders and above, their equivalents in all services, and selected staff officers was inaugurated to discuss military matters, meeting perhaps quarterly (see fig. 15).


Figure 15. National Security and Defense Organization, 1990

The armed forces' missions and roles were to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation and other African states against external aggression; and to contribute to international peace and security through service in multilateral peacekeeping operations of the UN, the OAU, ECOWAS, or other prospective pan-African military operations. They also were charged with supporting and reinforcing the border security efforts of the immigration and customs departments, with providing internal security in support of the police and local law enforcement authorities, and with contributing to nation building through inculcation of patriotism and technical skills.

Data as of June 1991