List of Security Agencies in Nigeria and Their Functions

There are thirteen (13) major security agencies in Nigeria. They are the State Security Services (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the armed forces (comprising the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

The security agencies in Nigeria are saddled with the responsibilities of protecting lives and properties, maintaining law and order, and defending the country against internal and external aggression. These government-owned agencies are trained to identify and combat societal threats. Most countries experience crimes and put security measures in place to tackle them to avoid destabilizing society’s social and economic activities.

Nigeria, as one, has several agencies that help to maintain orderliness in the country. Besides serving as Nigeria’s security agencies, some of these agencies also function as regulatory bodies with the responsibility of prosecuting individuals on the wrong side of the law. Below is a complete list of Security agencies in Nigeria and their functions.

1. Nigeria Police Force

  • Year Founded: 1820
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

Established in 1820 by the British colonial government, the Nigeria Police Force is one of the major security agencies in Nigeria. It is a well-funded organization with a staff strength of about 371,800 and is headed by an Inspector General of Police (IGP). The Nigerian Police is designated by the 1999 constitution as the national police with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country.

The major function of the Nigeria Police Force is to protect the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens, prevent crime, and enforce the law. To effectively carry out its duties, the NPF is divided into two major departments:

  • Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) – It is the highest criminal investigation arm of the Nigeria Police NPF that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of serious and complex criminal cases within and outside the Country. The department also coordinates crime investigations throughout the NPF, and it is headed by a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG)
  • Police Mobile Force (MOPOL) – It is established as a strike or Anti-riot unit designed to take over operations of major crises where conventional police units cannot cope.
The functions of the Nigerian Police are
  • The prevention of crime
  • The protection of lives
  • The Protection of Property
  • Maintain Order in the society
  • Arrest Offenders
  • Detection of crime
  • Prosecution of suspects
  • Search through belongings.

2. Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC)

  • Year Founded: 1964
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was established in 1964 as a paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the country against internal and external threats. The organization is quite large, with over 170,000 members divided into several different departments, including Maritime Security, Aviation Security, and Disaster Management.

The NSCDC was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War, and it was responsible for sensitizing and protecting the civil populace. In 1970, it metamorphosed into NSCDC, and in 1984, it was transformed into a National security outfit. In 1988, a  major restructuring of the Corps led to the establishment of its commands throughout the Federation, including Abuja. One of the crucial functions of the NSCDC is to protect pipelines from vandalism. The agency is also involved in crisis resolutions.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps amendment Act has empowered the paramilitary agency with the following functions:

  • Maintenance of Peace and Order
  • Recommend Private Guard Companies
  • Inspects Private Guard Companies
  • Supervise The Activities Of Private Guard Companies
  • Maintain twenty-four hours surveillance over government facilities
  • Seize suspected proceeds used for vandalization
  • Investigate illegal dealers of petroleum products
  • Protect pipelines from vandalism

3. Nigerian Army

  • Year Founded: 1954
  • Military/Paramilitary: Military

The Nigerian Army is the land force of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is also the largest among the armed forces and is governed by the Nigerian Army Council. Established in 1954, the Nigerian Army consists of thousands of officers and enlisted personnel, and it is functionally organized into combat arms, which are infantry and armored; the combat support arms, which are artillery, engineers, signals, and intelligence.

The combat support services of the Nigerian Army comprise the Nigerian Army Medical Corps, supply and transport, ordinance, and finance. Others include the military police, physical training, chaplains, public relations, and the Nigerian Army Band Corps. The army is big enough to offer protection to the land, nation, and country from any organized enemy. Protecting the country from enemies is one of the top duties of the Nigerian Army, and it has been like this since the creation of this body. Some of the known functions of the Nigerian Army are

  • To follow and uphold the Nigerian Constitution
  • To maintain the territorial integrity of Nigeria
  • To restore peace and order if needed and in cases of insurrection.
  • To secure the Nigerian borders from violations on land and to guard areas of high importance.
  • To coordinate the enforcement of immigration laws and customs.
  • Defending the country from external and internal aggression.
  • To perform any other duties mentioned in the National Assembly’s Act or as directed by the President.

4. Nigerian Air Force 

  • Year Founded: 1964
  • Military/Paramilitary: Military

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Also among the most important security agencies in Nigeria is the Nigerian Airforce, which is responsible for protecting Nigeria’s airspace and conducting air operations in support of the country’s internal security. The Air Force is also a key supporter of the Nigerian Army in the fight against insurgencies and terrorist groups like Boko Haram.

Established in January 1964 with technical assistance from West Germany, the Nigerian Air Force has over 10,000 personnel operating a fleet of fighter jets, helicopters, drones, and transport aircraft. This agency started as a transport unit with an aircrew that was trained in Pakistan, Canada, and Ethiopia. It was not until a number of MiG-17s were presented by the Soviet Union in 1966 that the air force was given combat capability. Among the key functions of the Nigerian Airforce are

  • To provide close support for the ground-based and sea-borne forces in all phases of operations
  • To ensure the territorial integrity of a united Nigeria by supplying forces to defend the airspace.
  • Supplies Equipment For Electronic War Operations
  • To give the country the deserved prestige that is invaluable in international matters.

5. Nigerian Navy (NN)

  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Military/Paramilitary: Military

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The Nigerian Navy (NN) is the sea division/branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces and one of the key security agencies in Nigeria. it is responsible for protecting the nation’s water by stiffly combating any form of threat from the water. The structure of this agency is such that the naval headquarters is located in Abuja, with three operational commands with headquarters in Lagos, Calabar, and Bayelsa.

In 1959, the Nigerian Naval Force was transformed into a full-fledged Navy (Royal Nigerian Navy). The name was officially changed to the Nigerian Navy in 1963 after the country became a republic. The Armed Forces Act of the 1999 Constitution gave the Nigerian Navy expanded military and constabulary roles, making it what it is today. The key functions of the Nigerian Navy include

  • To follow and uphold the Nigerian Constitution.
  • Defending the country from external and internal naval aggression.
  • Maintaining the naval territory integrity of Nigeria.
  • protecting Nigerian naval borders from violations.
  • Enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of all customs.
  • Upholding immigration laws
  • Fighting against bunkering
  • Fishery Protection and Upholding Environmental and Pollution Laws
  • Enforcement of all national and international maritime laws.

6. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

  • Year Founded: 1986
  • Military/Paramilitary: Military

The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is the primary military intelligence agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Defence Intelligence Agency was established in 1986 and is responsible for providing an efficient means of obtaining military intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence.

Simply put, the DIA is Nigeria’s primary manager and producer of foreign military intelligence. The agency is a central intelligence producer and manager for the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and combatant commands. Its workforce is a mix of military employees, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Department of Defense civilians.

The functions of the DIA are:

  • To promote Nigeria’s Defence Policy
  • To enhance military cooperation with other countries
  • To protect the lives of Nigerian citizens
  • To maintain the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

7. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)

  • Year Founded: 1988
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is a paramilitary outfit, established based on Decree Number 45 of Nigeria’s 1988 constitution. The security agency has its mission to include regulating, enforcing, and coordinating all Road Traffic and Safety Management activities. The FRSC operates in all states in Nigeria and the FCT and is in charge of road safety administration and management. The agency’s functions include

  • Preventing or minimizing accidents on the highway;
  • Clearing obstructions on any part of the highways;
  • Educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of the highways;
  • Determining, from time to time, the requirements to be satisfied by an applicant for a driver’s license;
  • Designing and producing vehicle number plates
  • The standardization of highway traffic codes;
  • Giving prompt attention and care to victims of accidents
  • Conducting research into causes of motor accidents and methods of preventing them and putting into use the result of such research;
  • Determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed-limiting devices;
  • Regulating the use of sirens, flashers, and beacon lights on vehicles other than ambulances and vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, Nigeria Police, Fire Service, and other Para-military agencies;
  • Providing roadside and mobile clinics for the treatment of accident victims free of charge;
  • Regulating the use of mobile phones by motorists;
  • Regulating the use of seat belts and other safety devices;
  • Regulating the use of motorcycles on the highway;
  • Maintaining the validity period for drivers’ licences which shall be three years subject to renewal at the expiration of the validity period

8. Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS)

  • Year Founded: 1861
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) is a Nigerian government agency that operates prisons. The agency was established to seek lasting change in offenders’ attitudes, values, and behavior and ensure successful reintegration into society. The name was changed from the Nigerian Prisons Service to the Nigerian Correctional Service by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 15th of August 2019.

As an arm of the Criminal Justice System domiciled in the Ministry of Interior, the NCoS takes into lawful custody all those duly certified to be so kept by courts of competent jurisdiction. It also produces suspects and other prisoners in courts as and when due, identifies the causes of anti-social disposition, and sets in motion mechanisms for their reform so as to return them to society as law-abiding citizens.

9. Nigeria Immigration Service

  • Year Founded: 1963
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is the government agency that has been charged with the responsibility of migration management in Nigeria. The agency was extracted from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in 1963, and its service was saddled with the responsibility for the issuance of all Nigerian travel documents, which included the Nigeria Passports.

Some of the key responsibilities of the Nigerian Immigration Service as empowered by Section 2 of the Immigration Act, 2015, are

  • To control persons entering or leaving Nigeria
  • To issue travel documents, including Nigerian passports, to bonafide Nigerians within and outside Nigeria
  • To issue residence permits to foreigners in Nigeria
  • Border surveillance and patrol
  • Enforcement of laws and regulations with which they are directly charged; and
  • The performance of such para-military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them under the authority of this Act or any other enactment

10. Nigeria Customs Service

  • Year Founded: 1891
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The Nigerian Customs Service is an independent customs service responsible for the collection of customs revenue, Facilitation of both national and international trade, anti-smuggling, and security activities. As one of the security agencies in Nigeria, the service is headed by the comptroller general, who oversees the work of six deputy comptroller generals.

The functions of the Nigeria Customs Service include the following:

  • Collection of Revenue (Import /Excise Duties & other Taxes /Levies)
  • Anti-Smuggling activities
  • Security functions
  • Generating statistics for planning and Budgetary purposes
  • Monitoring Foreign Exchange utilisation, etc.
  • Engaging in Research, Planning, and Enforcement of Fiscal Policies of Government
    Manifest processing Licensing and registration of Customs Agents
  • Registration and designation of collecting banks
  • .Working in collaboration with other government agencies in all approved ports and border station

11. State Security Service

  • Year Founded: 1986
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The State Security Service (SSS), otherwise known as the Department of State Services (DSS), is the basic domestic intelligence agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The State Security Service came about when the National Security Organization was dissolved in 1986, and it is primarily responsible for gathering information and intelligence within the country, especially for the protection of senior government officials, such as the President and Governors of the states.

It is, therefore, one of three successor organizations to the National Security Organization (NSO). The SSS is under the control of the National Security Adviser and operates as a department within the presidency.

Functions of the  State Security Service are:

  • To protect and defend the country against domestic threats
  • To uphold and enforce the criminal laws of Nigeria
  • To provide leadership and services that border on criminal justice at federal and state law-enforcement level
  • To protect Government officials such as the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors and their immediate families.
  • To protect other high-ranking government officials such as past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government
  • The SSS has to constantly take on various roles as required or necessitated by evolving security threats in Nigeria, such as counter-terrorism and counter-insurgent attacks.

12. National Intelligence Agency

  • Year Founded: 1977 
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

Also one of the security agencies in Nigeria, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is a Nigerian government agency that was founded in 1977 to be responsible for overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations. The NIA is also one of the entities created after the National Security Organization (NSO) was dissolved and the country’s security services were being restructured under Ibrahim Babangida’s regime.

The NIA is responsible for gathering and analyzing intelligence related to national security. The agency has a staff of approximately 5,000 people, and it’s divided into four directorates: the Directorate of Intelligence, the Directorate of Research, the Directorate of Operations, and the Directorate of Administration. NIA is not just limited to Nigeria; it has a regional mandate that includes West Africa. Some of the key duties of the NIA are counterintelligence and foreign intelligence collection operations.

  • The NIA focuses on external threats to Nigerian national interests. The agency has the authority to investigate all matters related to terror in the entire country without authorization from the states.
  • They have the mandate to investigate offenses that challenge the nation’s sovereignty and integrity, bomb blasts, hijacking of aircraft and ships, attacks on nuclear installations, and smuggling in counterfeit currency.
  • The agency conducts counter-terrorism operations to prevent and deter terrorist acts.
  •  Collaborates with international law enforcement agencies to combat transnational terrorism
  • NIA investigates cases related to money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities

13. National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

  • Year Founded: 1989
  • Military/Paramilitary: Paramilitary

The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) is one of the top security agencies in Nigeria. It was established in 1989 in response to the rising trend in the demand for and trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which adversely affected the international image of Nigerians and Nigeria in the 1980s. The body is in charge of drug policy and control in Nigeria, and it has the mandate to curtail illicit production, importation, exportation, sale, and trafficking of psychoactive substances.

The NDLEA has 14 directorates, 14 zonal commands, 111 state area commands, and 10 Special (airports & seaports) commands. It also has thousands of expert narcotic operatives and well-trained support staff who work across Nigeria with a visible presence at international airports, seaports, border crossings and major highways. The NDLEA Is committed to keeping society safe from the dangers of illicit substances and their purveyors.

Functions of the NDLEA

  • The enforcement and the due administration of the provisions of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act
  •  The coordination of all drug laws and enforcement functions conferred on any person or authority, including Ministers in the Government of the Federation.
  • Adoption of measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate, or seize proceeds derived from drug-related offenses or property whose value corresponds to such proceeds
  •  To eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotic plants and to eliminate illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

List of Drug Control Agencies in Nigeria and their Functions

Anti-drug agencies are established to primarily tackle drug-related crimes. These organizations work with other government organizations which have relevant roles to play in fighting against drug-related crimes, and their employees carry out interdiction and destruction of narcotic drugs and other illicit substances.

Agencies like the NPF, NIS, NCI, SON, and NOA may not be established with a primary function of fighting drug-related crimes, but they play great roles in the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking. Their operatives are actively engaged in the tracking, arrest, and prosecution of traffickers of dangerous substances under the various relevant drug laws of Nigeria.

Drug Control Agencies enforce drug laws and are legally empowered to carry out the following functions:

  • Investigate, arrest, and prosecute persons involved in the illicit drug trade or use of narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc.
  • Adopt measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate, or seize proceeds — property/wealth derived from illicit drug business and trade.
  • Adopts measures to eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotic plants.
  • Adopts measures on how to eliminate illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that cause harm to human lives.
  • Work on eliminating illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which cause harm to human lives.

Here is the list of Drug Control Agencies in Nigeria

  1. Nigeria Police Force (NPF)
  2. National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA)
  3. Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)
  4. Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
  5. National Orientation Agency (NOA)
  6. Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON)

List of Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and Their Functions

Law enforcement agencies are established to respond to, detect, and prevent crime. They play a significant role in adapting and responding to unexpected or unknown situations, as well as recognized situations, such as theft or domestic disputes.

One major duty of Law enforcement agencies is to detect and investigate firearm offenses. They also preserve law and order and protect the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens. They perform military duties within and outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of the police act or any other act.

Here is the list of Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria

  • Federal Road Safety Corps (Nigeria)
  • National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons
  • State Security Service (Nigeria)
  • Nigeria Police Force
  • Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)
  • National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
  • Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
  • Code of Conduct Bureau


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