The Nigerian Army was established in 1960 as an important sector of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is the land force of the Nigerian Armed Forces governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). Formerly called Royal West African Frontier Force, part of the duties of the Nigerian army include maintaining the country’s territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea, or air. They also suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called to do so by the President.
As a Nigerian citizen, knowing the different ranks in the Nigerian army is important, especially when you have an interest in joining the force. This article takes a look at all the Nigerian army ranks, including their salary structure.
A Look at the Ranks in the Nigerian Army
By just looking at the uniform of a Nigerian soldier, you could tell what rank he is. This is so because the Nigerian army ranks are structurally defined with every position being represented with its status and signs. The Nigerian army rank is divided into two categories, namely the commissioned officers and the non-commissioned officers.
Ranks for Non-commissioned Officers
There are eight (8) ranks for non-commissioned officers in the Nigerian army, and they are listed below in ascending order.
1. Private: This is the lowest rank in the Nigerian army. It has no symbol.
2. Lance corporal: This is the first rank of the army with a symbol, which is a rope shaped like a triangle.
3. Corporal: This rank is higher than the Lance corporal, and it is the third rank of the Non-commissioned officers cadre. It is symbolized by two ropes shaped like a triangle.
4. Sergeant: This is the fourth rank, and it is higher than the Corporal. It is symbolized by three ropes shaped like a triangle.
5. Staff Sergeant: This rank is higher than the Sergeant, and it is the first senior Non-commissioned rank. It is symbolized by three ropes shaped like a triangle and an eagle.
6. Warrant Officer: This rank is higher than the Staff Sergeant.
7. Master Warrant Officer: This rank is higher than the Warrant officer.
8. Army Warrant Officer: This is the highest rank in the Non-commissioned officers cadre.
Ranks for Commissioned Officers
There are eleven (11) ranks for commissioned officers in the Nigerian army and are listed below in ascending order.
1. Second Lieutenant: This is the lowest rank of the commissioned officers cadre. Most Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) graduates are given this rank after graduation. It is symbolized by one star.
2. Lieutenant: This rank is directly above the Second Lieutenant. Mostly Direct Short Service Officers are given this rank after completing their training. It is symbolized by two stars.
3. Captain: This is the third rank after the Lieutenant. It is also the highest rank of the junior officers. It is symbolized by three stars.
4. Major: This rank is the first of the senior officers of the army and the fourth rank of the commissioned officers cadre. It is symbolized by an eagle.
5. Lieutenant Colonel: This is the fifth rank, and it is higher than the Major. It is symbolized by an eagle and a star.
6. Colonel: This is the sixth rank of the commissioned officers cadre. It is symbolized by an eagle and two stars.
7. Brigadier General: This is the seventh highest rank and the lowest General rank in the Nigerian Army. This rank is symbolized by an eagle and three stars.
8. Major General: This rank is higher than the Brigadier General and is the eighth highest rank in the commissioned officers cadre. It is symbolized by an eagle and crossed swords with a torch.
9. Lieutenant General: This rank is very high in the Nigerian army. Most top army officers of Nigeria stopped at this rank. It is symbolized by an eagle, a star, and crossed swords with a torch.
10. General: This is the highest rank to be attained by an officer of the Nigerian army, and only but very few Nigerian officers have attained it. It is symbolized by an eagle, two stars, and crossed swords with a torch.
11. Field Marshal: This is the highest rank in the Army, and it has never been attained by any officer in Nigeria. According to sources, whoever attains this rank has the right to do as he or she wants and can become a dictator. So officers are sent on retirement before they could attain this rank.
Salary Structure of the Nigerian Army
The salaries received by Nigerian army officers vary depending on their ranks. Here is a list showing the ranks and their salaries.
Non-commissioned Officers Salaries
- Private: #48,000 – 49,000
- Lance Corporal: #54,000 – 55,000
- Corporal: #58,000
- Sergent: #63,000
- Staff Sergeant: #68,000
- Warrant officer: #80,000
- Master Warrant Officer: #90,000
- Army Warrant Officer: #100,000
Commissioned officers salaries
- Second Lieutenant: #120,000
- Lieutenant: #180,000
- Captain: #220,000
- Major: #300,000
- Lieutenant Colonel: #350,000
- Colonel: #550,000
- Brigadier General: #750,000
- Major General: #950,000
- Lieutenant General: #1 million
- General: #1.5 million
Nigerian Army Allowances
The Nigerian Army is also given allowances, which include the following:
- Uniform/boots allowance
- Qualification allowance
- Recall from annual leave allowance
- Compassionate allowance
- Terminal allowance
- Operational allowance for the soldiers fighting at different operations
- Scarce skills allowance, which is a fixed amount of #100,000, for the military personnel irrespective of their ranks.
The Nigerian Army also established the Nigerian Army Welfare Limited/Guarantee (NAWL/G), which coordinates the welfare of the Nigerian army personnel. They give Life insurance money as part of the welfare packages to the next of kin of its personnel that died during service. Gratuities and death claims are also part of the welfare packages received in the Nigerian Army.
How Long Does it Take to Get Promoted in the Nigerian Army?
- Decentralized promotions to the grades of E2 to E4
- Semi-centralized promotions to the grades of E5 to E6
- Centralized promotion to the grades of E7 to E9
Before a soldier can be promoted in the Nigerian army, they must have served for five years in a particular rank. For instance, a private must serve for five years before being promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. Promotion in the Nigerian army is done Chronologically and not to any rank of the soldier’s choice.
Ranks in the Nigerian army require some specific qualifications before a soldier can be promoted to it. These qualifications include:
- Army Officer candidate school: This is a 12-weeks program that must be completed before the enlisted soldiers can be considered for promotion.
- Time in Grade and Time in Service: Time in service is the total time a soldier served in the army. Time in Grade is the total years an officer served in a rank. An officer is expected to serve five years in a rank before being promoted to the next rank.
- Achievement in Service: This can also determine promotion in the army. An officer who has made a great mark or impact in their personal or team assignments can be considered for promotion.
How to Join the Nigerian Army
Joining the Nigerian Army requires some conditions. One’s eligibility matters when it comes to joining the Nigerian Army. Some of the requirements include;
- You must be a Nigerian by birth. This means you must be born by Nigerian parents
- You must be 18-22 years old before you can apply. Any age less than 18 years or higher than 22 years is not accepted.
- You must be medically, mentally, and physically fit.
- You must have a height of 1.65 meters (for males) and 1.56 meters (for females)
- You must not have undergone any criminal offense or conviction.
- Attending the zonal screening exercises at the zonal center for your State is mandatory.
- Completing all forms and submitting them at the examination center on the compulsory date for the screening is mandatory.
Joining the Nigerian army also requires educational qualification, which is at least three credits, including the English language, in not more than two sittings in WASSCE, NECO, or GCE.
After meeting all the requirements mentioned above, some documents are also needed during the recruitment process. They include;
- Birth certificate (photocopies) or affidavit declaring your age
- Academic Certificate (photocopies)
- Letter of identification signed by the identifying officer in section F of the completed form
Applying for the Nigerian army is usually done through their website using a scratch card purchased from a Unity bank or Union bank branch. It should be noted that during the screening exercise, the original documents and scratch cards purchased will be required.