List of Nigerian Military Ranks and Their Symbols

List of Nigerian Military Ranks and Their Symbols

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Nigeria army has many ranks and symbols. Learn about their history, origin and traditions.

Army is essential thing for every country. It fulfills many functions. Nigeria is not an exception. It has strong military. However, few people actually know Nigerian military ranks and their symbols. Such knowledge is necessary to understand the importance of armed forces and their main duties.

First, let’s find out what the military is. It denotes armed forces, which are allowed to apply deadly force as well as weapons for support and protection of the interests of a certain state and of all or a part of its citizens. The main task of army is to defend citizens and the country itself and to prosecute against the other states. Depending on country, they can also have additional duties. Speaking about Nigerian military ranks and their symbols, they may differ according to their types. Each of the kind has obligations.

Types of Nigerian forces

The most common division includes the following categories:

Army. These Nigerian Armed Forces include land branch. It means the soldiers carry out missions on the ground. This category possesses the largest quantity of all the types of armed forces. There are also several divisions in Nigeria. Their primary obligations are:

•base security,

• supplies and troops transportation,

• humanitarian missions,

• enemy targets engaging,

• law enforcement, etc.

Navy. It is a sea branch. Nowadays most of the Naval Headquarters are based in Abuja, Lagos, Calabar, and Bayelsa. They also own operational bases located throughout Nigeria and lots of training facilities, such as dockyards and fleets. Their duties include:

  • regional security,                  
  • rescue operations at sea,
  • medical support,
  • marine cleanups,
  • support of ground-based operations,
  • training missions at sea, etc.

Air force. It was founded only in 1964. All the necessary technical assistance has come from West Germany. For the first time they dealt mostly with transportation. Nevertheless, later they were trained abroad in Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Canada. The real combat capability appeared only in 1966, after the presentation of MiG-17 aircrafts by the Soviet Union. Nowadays they own plenty of helicopters, trainers, and fighters. Today the main aim for the government is to develop domestic and foreign training and production capabilities. The list of their missions contains the following:

  • air support (for on-land operations),
  • rescue missions,                                   
  • cargo transportation,
  • targets monitoring,
  • strategic locations protection,
  • airborne mapping,
  • medical assistance,
  • bombing runs,
  • aerospace systems maintenance, etc.

Military ranking in Nigeria

Each type of forces has its own ranking and symbols. Let’s consider the list of them and their description. It contains the following (all of them are situated according to the hierarchy):

Army ranking:

  • Field Marshal. It is the highest rank. However, it is said that no Nigerian has been able to attain it. That’s why it is not very frequently used.
  • General. This is the highest rank, which has actually been achieved by Nigerian. It is a four-star rank with NATO ranking 9.
  • Lieutenant General. It refers to the high commissioned officer. As for NATO, it is indicated by 8. In Nigeria it has three stars.
  • Major General. This is medium commissioned officer. NATO gives it 7, while it is actually a two-star rank in Nigerian hierarchy.
  • Brigadier (General). Within the country is has one star, while NATO indicated it under the number 6.
  • Colonel. It is often called Colonel of regiments. It refers to the commissioned officer of lower level and the highest field officer. According to NATO ranking, it gets 5.
  • Lieutenant Colonel. He is deputy to Colonel. It is a field officer of the middle level with NATO rank 4.
  • Major. The field officer of the lower category. Its rank is 3.
  • Captain. Having the ranking of 2, it is the highest rank in the tactical troops organization.
  • Lieutenant (First). Captain’s deputy. It is the same as immediate superior rank. It possesses NATO ranking 1.
  • Second Lieutenant. Such officer possesses the same NATO rank as the first Lieutenant, and he is subordinate to him.
  • Sergeant. It refers to junior non-commissioned officer, who is subordinate to Staff Sergeant.
  • Corporal. This category of people is usually in charge of a certain troop body.

As for the symbols, there is Crest of the Nigerian Army. Red color prevails there, which means enemy forces and their activities. In the centre, you can see a golden star and an eagle, which denote strength of soldiers. The motto is as follows: Victory is from God alone.

Nigerian navy ranks and symbols

  • Admiral of the Fleet. He might be also called grand admiral. The title refers to the naval officer of the highest rank.
  • Admiral. It is usually connected with the Chief of Naval staff.
  • Vice-Admiral. It is senior commissioned naval flag officer rank. It is the same as lieutenant general.
  • Rear Admiral Commodore. He is a commissioned officer.
  • Captain. He is one of the senior officers in Navy.
  • Commander. It’s a middle naval category.
  • Lieutenant. It refers to commissioned officer rank. Besides, it is usually the most senior of junior officers.
  • Sub-Lieutenant. It is a deputy to the previous rank and subordinate to it.
  • Mid-Shipman. It is someone, who is being trained to become a commissioned officer.

As for the symbols, Navy has its own emblem. There are eagle (meaning strength) and an anchor on it. Blue color prevails, denoting seawaters.

Nigerian air force ranks:

  • Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force. It is the most senior rank of all.
  • Air Chief Marshal. It is very senior air force category after the first one.
  • Air Marshal. It refers to the three-star officer.
  • Air Vice-Marshal. A two-star officer, subordinate to the previous one.
  • Air Commodore. It’s one-star category and the most junior of the existent air forces ranks.
  • Group Captain. It is senior commissioned rank with NATO indication of 5.
  • Wing Commander. Another senior commissioned officer, who usually commands the group of aircrafts.
  • Squadron Leader. Ground-operating squadrons and smaller groups of aircrafts are commanded by this officer.
  • Flight Lieutenant. It’s junior commissioned rank. Such people command the flying unit.
  • Flying Officer. Junior commissioned officer, who can serve as adjutant, security officer, squadron pilot etc.
  • Pilot Officer. It is the lowest commissioned rank. Such people might be aircrew members of ground branch officers.

Their emblem is very beautiful. Golden horses and eagle denotes nobleness, while red color means strength and enemy forces.

Many Nigerians desire to become first class pilots or masters of the military forces. There are special schools for that in the country, that’s why everyone has a chance.

Nigerian armed forces keep developing every year. There is a great number of personnel in each of the divisions. Moreover, Nigerian military equipment is very advanced and modern. They apply various vehicles, aircrafts, artillery, ships, and air defense. If more and more talented people continue joining the military, it may once become one of the strongest in the world. You might become the first Field Marshal of the army in the history of Nigeria.