Nigerian Army ranks, symbols, and salaries: Top facts and details

Nigerian Army ranks, symbols, and salaries: Top facts and details

The Nigerian military is a respectable establishment that protects Nigerian citizens. Becoming an armed forces member is a dignifying goal for anyone who wants to serve their country. If you want to know more about the Nigerian military, and specifically the army, check out this article on the Nigerian Army ranks and symbols. That way, you will know what to aim for!

Nigerian Army
Nigerian Army ranks, symbols, and salaries. Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Nigeria became independent in 1960 and renamed the Nigerian Military Force (NMF) the Royal Nigerian Army (RNA). In addition, the Nigerian army ranks structure, uniform, and instruments also changed. As a result, the army is part of the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF).

The structure of the Nigerian military

The Nigerian Armed Forces are responsible for protecting citizens from internal and external threats and maintaining the structural integrity of the country. NAF has three service branches:

  1. Nigerian Army - It is responsible for maintaining peace on the land, enforcing the law and controlling humanitarian missions;
  2. Nigerian Navy - It operates in the open waters to assure the security of the country and offer rescue if necessary;
  3. Nigerian Airforce - It provides air support, cargo transportation and other air missions.

NAF is one of the toughest defence forces on the continent. Today, we will only talk about the Nigerian army symbols. The Nigerian Armed Forces are committed to advanced training and technological modernization programs, including acquiring and refurbishing armoured vehicles, combat aircraft, and aerial reconnaissance drones.

Nigerian Army ranks and logo (insignia)

The Nigerian Army has a very defined rank structure, where every position has its meaning, status and signs. By looking at a soldier's uniform, you can tell who they are and what they do (and even how much they earn). Learn all about the Army ranks in Nigeria below:

1. Nigerian army ranks for non-commissioned officers

Nigerian Army ranks and symbols
Nigerian military ranks and symbols for non-commissioned officers. Photo: @RecruitmentNew3

Here is the list of ranks in the Nigerian Army for non-commissioned officers in ascending order:

  1. Recruit/Trainee - It is the lowest rank in the Nigerian Army. The rank is for recruits who do not have insignia. Visit the Nigerian Army recruitment portal for recruitment. A Trainee might get one shoulder mark.
  2. Private Soldier - This is the second rank after the trainee position.
  3. Lance Corporal - This is slightly higher than the recruit/trainee position but the second lowest officer rank. A Lance Corporal receives a one-shoulder mark.
  4. Corporal - It is the third lowest level of the Nigerian Army hierarchy. A Corporal has two shoulder marks and oversees a troop's body.
  5. Sergeant - A Sergeant gets three shoulder marks and is a junior non-commissioned officer.
  6. Staff Sergeant- This is a senior non-commissioned rank of the Nigerian Army. A Staff Sergeant has three shoulder marks and a golden eagle on top.
  7. Warrant Officer/Sergeant First Class - Its insignia is the golden eagle surrounded by the matching golden crown made of olive leaves. A Warrant Officer is an assistant of the Master Sergeant.
  8. Master Warrant Officer/Master Sergeant - Nigerian army officers in this rank are in charge of military equipment. The insignia of the Master Warrant Officer/Master Sergeant is the Nigerian Coat Of Arms, where the horses are silver, and the rest is golden.

2. Nigerian army ranks for commissioned officers

Nigerian Army ranks and symbols
Nigeria army ranks and symbols for commissioned officers. Photo: @RecruitmentNew

These are the Army ranks for commissioned officers in Nigeria, from the least to the most powerful.

  1. Second Lieutenant - A Lieutenant has one silver star (a six-pointed star) on each shoulder. The word ‘lieutenant’ means ‘substitute.’
  2. First Lieutenant- The officer has two vertically aligned silver stars on the shoulders. A First Lieutenant is the Captain's deputy.
  3. Captain - A Captain gets three vertically aligned silver stars on the shoulders. This is the highest rank among the tactical troop organization.
  4. Major - A Major has a silver eagle on each shoulder. It is among the lowest field officer rank in the Nigerian Army.
  5. Lieutenant Colonel - A Lieutenant Colonel is the Colonel's deputy. The officer wears a vertically aligned silver star and a silver eagle on each shoulder. This is a mid-level rank among the field officers.
  6. Colonel - A Colonel has two silver stars and a silver eagle (all vertically aligned) on each shoulder. The officer is at the top of the field officer hierarchy and the bottom of the commissioned officer hierarchy. In addition, the Colonel is responsible for the regiments.
  7. Brigadier General - These officers are in charge of brigades. A Brigadier General wears three silver stars on each shoulder. The stars form a triangle with a silver eagle on top.
  8. Major General - A Major General is a mid-level commissioned officer rank. The officer has a golden emblem of the crossed sword and baton below a golden eagle on each shoulder.
  9. Lieutenant General - It is the third highest rank in the Nigerian Army. Lieutenant Generals have the vertically aligned emblem of the crossed sword and baton, a star and an eagle, all in gold and on the shoulders.
  10. The General - The officer wears a vertically aligned crossed sword and baton, two stars and the eagle, all in gold and on both shoulders. It is the second highest rank in the Nigerian Army.
  11. Army Field Marshal/General of the Army - Nobody has ever claimed this spot throughout the history of the Nigerian Army because it is an unattainable rank. An Army Field Marshal should wear an emblem of the crossed sword and baton surrounded by two branches and an eagle on top, all in gold and on both shoulders.

Nigerian Army ranks and symbols
Army ranks in Nigeria and symbols for commissioned officers. Photo: @RecruitmentNew

What does the Nigerian Army flag mean?

The Nigerian Army has a flag with deep meaning behind the symbols it carries. The flag has an eagle on top of a shaded six-pointed star with Arabic writing on the red-black-red backdrop. Here are their meanings:

  • The eagle stands for the grace and power of the army. Like an eagle, the army keeps watch in times of peace and strikes the enemies with frightening precision in times of war.
  • The star represents the unity of Nigeria, created in 1914. What seems like a shadow is a black star merged with the yellow one. The two stars stand for the Southern and Northern Protectorates united to create Nigeria.
  • The Arabic writing is the Nigerian Army's motto. It means victory comes from God alone.
  • Red stands for the enemy forces, and it is customary in NATO to use this colour in the military elements.
  • Black represents the cavalry and other troops.

Nigerian Army ranks and symbols
Nigerian Army flag. Photo: Kypros
Source: Twitter

What are Nigeria Army ranks in order?

The commissioned officers are above the non-commissioned officers. These are the ranks of Nigerian army officers from top to bottom:

1. Commissioned officers

  • Army Field Marshal/General of the Army
  • The General
  • Lieutenant General
  • Major General
  • Brigadier General
  • Colonel
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major
  • Captain
  • First Lieutenant
  • Second Lieutenant

2. Non-commissioned officers

  • Master Warrant Officer
  • Warrant Officer
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Lance Corporal
  • Private Soldier
  • Recruit

Who has the highest military rank in Nigeria?

The Army Field Marshal/General of the Army is at the top of all military ranks in Nigeria. However, nobody has reached this level since the country gained independence in 1960.

How can I check my rank in Nigerian Army?

You can differentiate Nigeria's army ranks for non-commissioned and commissioned officers by checking the logos and symbols they wear on their uniforms (the shoulders).

How much is Nigeria Army's monthly salary?

There are different pay rates for different ranks in the Nigerian army. On average, Nigerian military officers earn between N45,000 to N1.5 million. The wage increases as the soldier moves up the ranks.

The General N1,500,000Master Warrant OfficerN90,000
Lieutenant GeneralN1,000,00Warrant OfficerN80,000
Major GeneralN950,000Staff SergeantN68,000
Brigadier GeneralN750,000 Sergeant N63,000
Colonel N550,000CorporalN58,000
Lieutenant ColonelN350,000Lance CorporalN54,000 - 55,000
MajorN300,000Private SoldierN48,000 - N49,000
Second LieutenantN120,000

The Nigerian Army ranks provide an orderly leadership system that indicates each soldier's level of expertise, responsibility, and authority in the military. The ranks also instil discipline and the notion of duty and responsibility among the soldiers.

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The degree will enable you to work as a Criminology Professor, Private Investigator, Loss Prevention Officer, Jury Consultant, Police Detective, Criminal Profiler, and more.


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