The History of The Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Army (NA) is the largest part of the Nigerian Armed Forces and is responsible for land warfare operations. It is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC) and It bears the brunt of the nation’s security challenges.


The history of the Nigerian Army dates to 1863 when Lt Glover of the Royal Navy selected 18 indigenes from the Northern part of the country and organized them into a local force, known as the “Glover Hausas”. The small force was used by Glover as governor of Lagos to mount a punitive expedition in the Lagos hinterland and to protect British trade routes around Lagos. In 1865, the “Glover Hausa” became a regular force with the name “Hausa Constabulary”. It performed both police and military duties for the Lagos colonial government. It later became “Lagos Constabulary”. On incorporation into the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) in 1901, it became “Lagos Battalion”. In addition to this force, the British Government included the Royal Niger Company (RNC), Constabulary Force in Northern Nigeria in 1886 and the Oil Rivers irregular in 1891.

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In 1889, Lord Fredrick Lugard had formed the incipient body of what was to be known in 1890, as the West Africa Frontier Force, (WAFF), in Jebba, Northern Nigeria. The new unit expanded by absorbing the Northern Nigeria-based elements of the Royal Niger Company (RNC) Constabulary. By the end of 1901, it had incorporated all paramilitary units in the other British dependencies into its command, thus fully meriting its designation “WAFF”. The establishment of the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) led to the merger of all units into a regiment in the dependencies.

Current State

The Nigerian Army is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). The Nigerian Army is functionally organized into combat arms, which are infantry and armored; the combat support arms, which are artillery, engineers, and signals; the combat support services include medical, supply and transport, ordinance and finance. Others include the military police, intelligence, physical training, chaplains, public relations and band. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) located in Minna is responsible for doctrinal, training and combat development, and supervises training centers. There are 17 Corps Training Schools and the Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL)

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Current formations include:

  • 1 Division, headquartered in Kaduna
  • 2 Division (HQ in Ibadan)
  • 3 Armoured Division HQ in Jos
  • 6th Amphibious Division HQ Port Harcourt
  • 7th Infantry Division (OP-ED) HQ in Maiduguri
  • 8th Division HQ Sokoto
  • 81 Division (Amphibious) HQ in Lagos
  • 82 Division (Airborne and Amphibious) HQ in Enugu
  • Training and Doctrine Command HQ Minna


Author: BF

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