Nigerian Navy Portal, Ranks, Logo, Quick Facts, How to Join

Here you are going to learn all about the Nigerian Navy which is a branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It became active in the year 1958 and has grown to be one of the largest navies in the African continent consisting of thousands of personnel and coast guard, several operational commands, a logistics and training command as well as many autonomous units.

Brief History

The origin of the Nigerian Navy could be traced to the colonial marine Department of the Royal Navy which was established in 1887 as a quasi-military organization.

At that time, it combined the duties of the present day Nigerian Ports Authority, the Inland Water Ways and the modern day Navy.

Late Captain Skutil, who was the first officer to head the Nigerian Navy Defence Force in 1956 believed in the Nigerian Navy and later spearheaded the establishment of a Nigerian Naval Force (Sessional paper No. 6 of 1956).

On 1 June 1956, the Nigerian Naval Defense Force commenced operations with 2 survey vessels, 2 training boats, 3 VIP boats, one tug and one general purpose. Then on August 1, the Nigerian Naval Ordinance was passed by the House of Representatives and was assented on September 5, 1956.

Thereafter, the Prefix “Royal” in Royal Nigerian Navy was dropped in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic. Thus adopting a new name – The Nigerian Navy.


The motto of the Nigerian Navy is “Onward Together”.

The Naval Headquarters (NHQ)

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) is the boss of the Naval Headquarters (NHQ). Notably, the NHQ is the administrative and policy-making organ of the Nigerian Navy.

The Nigerian Navy Uniform Vs the Army (image source)


The Nigerian Navy, which forms part of a naval headquarters, comprises of Office of the Chief of the Naval Staff and 8 staff branches. The 8 branches are administered by a Branch Chief or flag rank.

The Eight Nigerian Navy Branches include Naval Engineering, Naval Safety and Standard, Policy and Plans, Training and Operations, Logistics, Administration, Account and Budget and Office of the Navy Secretary.

These branches are headed by Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of flag rank.

Operational Command

The Nigerian Navy has the following operational commands:

The Western Naval Command

This command controls the sea and coastal areas from the Nigerian/Benin border Long 002o 49’ E to Long 006o E in Delta State. It also covers the Nigerian coastal areas to the boundary of the nation’s EEZ. Its headquarters is located in Apapa, Lagos State.

The Eastern Naval Command

This command is the second operations command of the Nigerian Navy. The headquarters is located at Calabar, Cross River State. Its area of responsibility covers from the sea area from Long 006o E in Delta State to the Nigeria/Cameroon border at Long 008o 30’ E, and from the Nigerian coastline to the limit of the nation’s EEZ.

The Central Naval Command

This is the third operations command of the Nigerian Navy. It covers the Benin River entrance at Long 0050 00’E to the Santa Barbara River entrance at Long 0060 30’E, including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo coastal areas. It also takes care of the landward states in the nation. Its headquarters is in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.

Ranks and Leadership Structure

Leadership In the Nigerian Navy Is structured thus:

Commissioned officers

The 12 ranks of commissioned officers are listed below:

  • Admiral of the Fleet (Highest rank) *Chief Of Naval staff.
  • Admiral
  • Vice-Admiral
  • Rear Admiral
  • Commodore
  • Captain
  • Commander
  • Lieutenant Commander
  • Lieutenant
  • Sub-Lieutenant
  • Acting Sub-Lieutenant
  • Mid-Shipman

Non-Commissioned Personnel officers

  • Warrant Chief Petty Officer
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Petty Officer
  • Leading Rating
  • Able Rating
  • Ordinary Rating
  • Trainee

Chief of the Naval Staff

This is the highest ranking military officer of the Nigerian Navy. This position goes to the most senior commissioned officer, whose appointment rests on the shoulder of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

Nigeria’s current Chief of Naval Staff is Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (appointed on 13 July 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari).

The Chief of the Naval Staff reports to the Chief of Defence Staff, who in turn reports to the Minister of Defence.

The Nigerian Navy Bases

The Nigerian Navy pioneer base is located at Apapa, Lagos state. The base was developed in 1961 followed by the Calabar base – located in the Southern part of Nigeria.

In 1975, another base named NNS AKASO was opened in Borikiri, Port Harcourt. Thereafter, more bases came on board and they include the Nigerian Navy bases in Warri, Sapele and Port Harcourt.


During the civil war, the Nigerian Navy played vital operative roles especially after the abortive Aburi Talks of January 1967.

Secondly, the Nigerian Navy manned most Nigerian territorial waters at the time the Federal Military Government banned ships in the Eastern part of Nigeria. This feat warded off the Atlantic seabed and impeded large-scale importation of much-needed arms and ammunition by the secessionists.

The Nigerian Naval Forces have made charts and coordinated national hydrographic surveys as well as enforcing safety regulations in the territorial waters and the EEZ of the nation.


After the war, the Navy acquired many warships for the protection of offshore installations. These include NNS ARADU, ERINOMI, ENYIMIRI, AMBE, OFIOM and 2 squadrons of missile-carrying Fast Attack Craft (FAC-M).


Aircraft- Augusta A109 helicopter, Aeronautics Aerostar, Westland Lynx

 See Also: Nigerian Civil War: Causes, Effects and Other Facts You Should Know

 The Naval Uniforms

Nigerian Navy on the working rig (image source)

A lot of questions has been raised over the different uniforms worn by the Naval officials. The Nigerian Navy has three different uniforms, These uniforms are specifically for different official occasions but the white Uniform is known to be their official work uniform. Here are the different types of uniform worn by the Nigerian Navy and what they stand for

  1. The White Uniform: Also known as the Liberty Rig, the Naval white Uniform is worn mostly while on administrative duties or when getting off the ship.
  2. The blue Uniform (The working rig):  As the name connotes, the working rig is a uniform worn by the Naval officials during strenuous field works.
  3.  The camouflage:   The Navy Carmo is worn by the officials when they are carrying on a combined duty with the Nigerian army. Unlike the Army, the Navy’s camouflage has a touch of blue with grey-white.

How to Join the Nigerian Navy, Portal

The Nigerian Navy runs  two different kinds of recruitment processes, the general recruitment for its basic course and the direct short service course (DSSC) and application to join any of the two requires an online application where the candidate is first required to register and then download the application directly from the Navy registration portal at

Quick Facts About The Nigerian Navy

  • It is an offshoot of the colonial marine Department of the Royal Navy which was established in 1887. The Nigerian Navy as we know it today became active in the year 1958 having established the Nigerian Navy Defense Force in 1956.
  • The first Chief of Naval Staff was Captain F.W. Skutil 1956-58 while the present one is Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, 2015 to date.
  • The motto of the Nigerian Navy is “Onward Together”.
  • There are three Operational Commands of the Nigerian Navy which are The Western Naval Command, The Eastern Naval Command, and The Central Naval Command.
  • The ranks and leadership structure of the Navy consist of Commissioned officers and Non-Commissioned officers.
  • The Nigerian Navy has three uniforms which are the White Uniform, Blue Uniform and their Camouflage which has a touch of blue with grey-white.


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