Security Agencies in Nigeria; Functions, Duties, Uniform, Everything to Know

Security Agencies in Nigeria; Functions, Duties, Uniform
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Wondering about the security agencies in Nigeria or thinking about the functions, duties, and uniforms of Nigerian security agencies? This article discusses everything you need to know.

Security Agencies in Nigeria; Functions, Duties, Uniform

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Security Agencies in Nigeria – An Introduction

Security agencies are groups or institutions whose responsibilities and activities lead to the safety of an organization, territory, or locality.

They could be private or government-owned and are trained to identify threats to society, with the aim of combating them.

Most countries of the world experience crimes and have measures in place for the maintenance of security.

Security issues are tackled because insecurity is like a hydra-headed monster that subtly grows if left unchecked.

Insecurity destabilizes a nation or locality and can have serious socioeconomic effects.

Like every other country, Nigeria wishes to maintain a peaceful and secure nation, thus the presence of security agencies in Nigeria.

Over the years, the government has set up and passed into law a couple of security agencies.

These security agencies are charged with the functions and duties of maintaining security in the country.

Besides servicing as Nigeria security agencies, some of these agencies also function as regulatory bodies with the preserve of prosecuting individuals on the wrong sides of the law.

This article will highlight the various security agencies in Nigeria, their general and specific functions and duties, and everything you should know about them.

Let’s get right to it!

Related: Military Coups in Nigeria; All to Know

Security Agencies in Nigeria

Security Agencies in Nigeria

The State Security Service (SSS)

The State Security Service was created in 1986, on the 5th day of June, following the dissolution of the National Security Organization (NSO).

This was contained in the inaugural address made by the then military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

The security agency’s first headquarters was at 15, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, before it was moved to Abuja during General Sani Abacha’s regime.

The SSS headquarters complex in Abuja is informally called the ‘Yellow House’ and is cited on the northern edge of the Aso drive’s three-arms zone in Maitama, FCT Abuja.

This national security outfit is also called the Department of State Security (DSS).

It is constitutionally known as the country’s basic domestic intelligence outfit, with its primary responsibility being intelligence-gathering.

The national security agency has its headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

This national security agency’s personnel is also charged with safeguarding highly-placed government officials, including the President, governors, and other cabinet members.

The State Security Services operationally functions as a department within the Presidency and is under the direct control of the National Security Adviser (NSA), based on the Presidential Proclamation in 1999.

The SSS has the constitutional right to investigate any threat-posing issue with the capacity of snowballing into terrorism or insurgency.

In other words, the State Security Service is beefed up to carry out counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, surveillance, and internal security functions.

Related: Nigerian Coat of Arms; History, Meaning, Symbols, Facts, All to Know

Functions and Duties of the SSS.

The functions and duties of the SSS in Nigeria include;

  • Enforcement of the criminal laws of the country.
  • Protection and defense of the nation against domestic threats.
  • To safeguard top government officials like the; President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives,  State  Governors, and their families.
  • The protection of other highly-ranked government officials and other foreign Presidents or heads of state who are visiting the country.
  • To help uphold criminal justice laws and their enforcement at both the Federal and State levels.

Head of the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS),

The Director-General heads the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS).

Heads/Director Generals of the Nigeria State Security Service (SSS) since formation in 1986.

Since its formation, the Department of State Security (DSS) has had 9 Directors General (as of 2021).

The current DG of SSS is Yusuf Magaji Bichi.

These SSS director generals include;

  1. Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo            June 1986 – September 1990
  2. Chief Albert Horsfall               September 1990 – October 1992
  3. Chief Peter Nwaoduah           October 1992 – June 1998
  4. Colonel Kayode Are (Rtd)       May 1999 – August 2007
  5. Afakriya Gadzama                  August 2007 – September 2010
  6. Ita Ekpeyong                         September 2010 – July 2015
  7. Lawal Musa Daura                   July 2015 – August 2018
  8. Matthew Seiyefa (Ag)             7 August 2018 – 14 Sept2018
  9. Yusuf Magaji Bichi                   14 September 2018 – present

Uniform of DSS/SSS

DSS officials are usually on mufti as they’re not meant to be recognized in public.

However, you can sometimes see them on a black outfit with an inscription of “DSS” on the front.

Related: How to Become a Citizen of Nigeria; A Complete Guide

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

In the history of security agencies of Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is the first security agency established with the responsibility of eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, distribution, sales, trafficking, and usage of hard drugs in Nigeria.

This security outfit was established in 1990, based on Decree number 48, as enacted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The personnel of the agency also see to the cracking down of the exportation of such drugs too.

The NDLEA officials are usually found at international and state borders, airports, highways, and seaports. Sometimes, they are found on regular roads carrying out random searches based on tip-offs.

The NDLEA, as a security agency in Nigeria, also tries to eradicate cannabis by destroying plantings found within the borders of the country.

The national security agency has its head office in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

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Activities, Functions, and Duties of the NDLEA

Some of the duties of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) include;

  • Eliminating the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, distribution, sales, trafficking, and usage of hard drugs in Nigeria.
  • Identification and destruction of farms where cannabis, marijuana, and other illicit substances are cultivated.
  • The arrest and prosecution of cartel leaders or drug barons.
  • Sensitization of the populace as regards the dangers of drugs.
  • Rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Head of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

The Head of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is called the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

As of 2021, the chairman of NDLEA 2021 is Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd), a former Lagos State military governor.

He was appointed into the position by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 16th of January, 2021.

Brigadier-General Buba Marwa took over from Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah who completed his tenure in 2021.

Until this appointment, Buba Marwa was the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Drug Abuse.

Who was the first Chairman of NDLEA in 1989 when it was founded?

The first chairman of NDLEA was Mr. Fidelis Oyakhilome, then a Police Commissioner and former Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria.

Mr. Oyakhilome had a doctorate in law and was charged with the responsibility of becoming the security agency’s first chairman and chief executive officer.

Uniform of NDLEA

Unlike many security agencies in Nigeria, NDLEA officials can be on mufti or a military-like uniform with an inscription, ‘NDLEA’ written on it.

Their official color is red, so they’re mostly on a red cloth carrying their NDLEA inscription.

Related: Nigerian Coat of Arms; History, Meaning, Symbols, Facts, All to Know

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was established as an independent customs service body in Nigeria.

The security outfit was formed in 1891 and is under the direct supervisory oversight of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance.

The Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters is at Abidjan Street, Wuse, PMB 26, Zone 3, FCT Abuja, Nigeria.

Head and Departments of the Nigeria Customs Service

The head of the Nigeria Customs Services is called the Comptroller General. Directly under the Comptroller General are six Deputy Comptroller Generals.

These Deputy Comptroller Generals oversee the affairs of the following departments;

  • Enforcement, Inspection, and Investigation
  • Tariff and Trade
  • Corporate Support Services
  • Human Resource Development
  • Modernization, Research, and Economic Relations
  • Excise, Industrial Incentives, and Free Trade Zone.

Unlike many security agencies in Nigeria, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) board is under the minister of finance’s chairmanship and assisted by the Comptroller General.

Related: Nigeria Custom Duty Verification; How to Check Custom Duty Online in Nigeria (Updated)

Functions and Duties of the Nigeria Customs Service

This Nigerian security agency is charged with the following responsibilities;

  • Collections of revenue from customs (import and export duty revenues collected from the borders).
  • Combating smuggling activities (harmful/toxic substances, contrabands).
  • To facilitate national as well as international trade.
  • To checkmate money laundering under the guise of export.
  • To checkmate the importation and exportation of guns and other weapons.
  • To oversee all forms of export.

They generally see to the implementation of government laws, as regards the maintenance of border integrity.

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Uniform of Nigeria Custom Service

If you’re wondering, ‘what is Nigeria Custom Service’s uniform’s color,’ the answer is here for you.

The color of the Nigeria Customer Service is ‘Grey’.

The security agency launched the grey uniform around 2018.

The new camouflage uniform is grey with bits of other colors.

The Nigeria Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is a paramilitary outfit, established based on Decree number 45 of Nigeria’s 1988 constitution.

The security agency is a Federal law enforcement agency with the motto; “Creating a Safe Motoring Environment in Nigeria.” 

Their legal jurisdiction is Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Administration.

The agency operates in all states in Nigeria and the FCT and is in charge of road safety administration and management.

The national headquarters if the FRSC is No. 3. Mapulo Street, Zone 3, Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria.

Duties and Functions of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

The functions of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) include;

  • To see the reduction of accidents on the highway
  • To speedily remove obstructions on any of the roads
  • To give speedy assistance to accident victims on the roads
  • To maintain the safety of the roads
  • To checkmate and educate drivers
  • The institution and strict adherence to speed limit
  • Enforce compliance to all road regulations
  • Conducting researches on what causes accidents and develop ways to prevent them
  • Standardization of highway traffic codes
  • Clearing obstructions on any part of the highways
  • Generally, they’re in charge of everything regarding road and safety maintenance and management in Nigeria.

Current Head (Corps Marshal) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

The head of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) as of 2020 is Corps Marshal Boboye O, Oyeyemi MFR, mni.

The Corps Marshal is the highest rank in the Corps ranking system.

Past Heads (Corps Marshal) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

The past Corps Marshal of the FRSC include;

  1. Dr Olu Agunloye                                         1988 -1994 
  2. Maj. Gen Haldu Anthony Hananiya, mni (rtd)    1994 – 1999
  3. Danyaro Ali Yakasai                                       1999 – 2000
  4. Engr. Abba Kyari Wakilbe, OON, FNSE                2000 – 2003
  5. Maj. Gen Haldu Anthony Hananiya, mni (rtd)    2003 – 2007
  6. Osita Chidoka, OFR, NPoM                             2007 – 2014

Past and Present Chairmen of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

  1. Prof. Wole Soyinka                            1988 – 1992
  2. Vice Admiral Akin Aduwo (rtd)                      1992 – 1994
  3. Alh. Adamu Maina Waziri (Amb)                   2005 – 2006
  4. Greg Mbadiwe                                            2007 – 2008
  5. Col. Lawan Gwadabe (rtd)                              2009 – 2013
  6. Mr Felix Chukwu                                         2013 – 2015

Mallam Bukhari Bello is the current chairman of the FRSC as of 2020.

Uniform of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

The uniform of the FRSC is a brown on black outfit with an oxblood cap.

The uniform can also be an oxblood on a black outfit. It all depends on the rank of the FRSC official.

What is the difference between the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)

There is a little to no difference.

The Corps is the operational tool of the Commission.

The Commission used the Corps to enforce and execute its policies across the country.

The Corps is the ‘Federal Road Safety’ staff members that you find on the road that are either on a uniform or sometimes not on uniforms.

They perform the road traffic and safety duties assigned to them by the commission.

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is one of the security agencies in Nigeria.

The agency was extracted from the Nigeria Police in August 1958 to stand as an agency of its own.

The initial law regulating Immigration Duties in Nigeria was the Immigration Act of 1963.

This law was amended in 2014 and 2015 with the 2015 amendment being called the Immigration Act, 2015.

The national headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service is NIS HQ Shehu Shagari Complex, Airport Road, Sauka, Abuja, FCT Nigeria.

Duties and Functions of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

The functions of this agency include;

  • To control all forms of migration from the country.
  • To regulate the entrance of people into the country.
  • Issuance of resident permit to foreigners
  • To checkmate and prosecute people caught in illegal entrance into the country.
  • Issuance of travel documents (regional and international passports, visa)
  • Border surveillance
  • General migration management

The personnel of this security agency are trained to combat any form of threat to the nation’s territorial integrity and individuals with forged or expired travel documents.

Head of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is under the leadership of the Comptroller General, the head of the agency.

Past and Current Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

Since its inception, the agency for security and immigration has had numerous leaders.

Some of these Comptrollers General include;

  1. E. H. Harrison, Esq (Chief Federal Immigration Officer) 1962 – 1966
  2. J. E. Onugogu, Esq (Chief Federal Immigration Officer)          1966 – 1967
  3. Alayedeino, Esq (Chief Federal Immigration Officer)              1967 – 1976
  4. Alhaji Aliyu Muhammed (Director of Immigration)               1977 – 1979
  5. Alhaji Lawal Sambo (Director of Immigration)                      1979 -1985
  6. Muhammed Damulak, Esq (Director of Immigration)            1985 – 1990
  7. Alhaji Garba Abbas (last Director of Immigration, 1st Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS) 1990 – 1995
  8. Alhaji Sahabi Abubakar (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS) 1995 – 1999
  9. Alhaji U. K. Umar (Acting Comptroller-General Immigration Service – Ag. CGIS)                                                                            1999 – 2000
  10. Lady U. C. Nwizu (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                                                         2000 – 2004
  11. Mr. Chukwurah Joseph Udeh (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                       2005 – 2010
  12. Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                                              2010 – 2013
  13. Rilwan Bala Musa, mni (Acting Comptroller-General Immigration Service – Ag. CGIS)                                                      2013
  14. David Shikfu Parradang, mni (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                                2013 – 2015
  15. Martin Kure Abeshi (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                                                                2015 – 2016
  16. Muhammed Babandede, MFR (Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS)                                                               2016 – date

Muhammed Babandede, MFR is the current Comptroller-General Immigration Service – CGIS as of 2021.

Uniform of the Nigeria Immigration Service

The official uniform of the Nigeria Immigration Service is a brown on a brown outfit with a dark brown cap.

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is one of the various paramilitary security agencies in Nigeria.

The agency was established in May 1967 at the inception of the Nigerian civil war.

At that time, they saw to the sensitization, rescue, and protection of citizens, at the then nation’s capital, Lagos.

The act that established the institution was amended in 2007, and now the agency is commissioned to provide measures against threats, attacks and disasters against the country and its citizens.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) national headquarters is beside the Nigerian Immigration Service HQ at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Road, Garki, Abuja FCT Nigeria.

Duties and Functions of the Civil Defence Corps in Nigeria

Some of the functions of the NSCDC include;

  • Maintenance of peace and order
  • Protection of lives during moments of emergency like war and protests
  • Combating the vandalism of government properties, including oil rigs, power cables, transformers, etc
  • Education of the society on the necessary safety measures for daily survival and moments of emergency or unrest
  • Arrest and prosecution defaulting members of the public (oil bunkers, buglers, vandals, and bandits)
  • Protection of government-owned properties and sometimes personnel

Who is the Head of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps?

The head of the NSCDC is called the Commandant General.

As of 2020, the Commandant General of the NSCDC was Abdullahi Gana Mohammadu. His tenure was extended by 6 months from 2020 to January 2021 when he retired.

The next in command to Gana, DCG Operation, Kelechi Madu, took over as the acting Commandant General of the NSCDC in 2021.

This was pending the appointment of the new CG.

What is the NSCDC Uniform Color?

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps uniform is a navy blue outfit with a black military cap.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF)

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is one of the most popular and oldest security agencies in Nigeria.

This is the principal law enforcement and the lead security agency in Nigeria.

The agency has a staff strength of about 371,000 with plans to increase the number to 650,000 as of 2020.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is large and consists of 36 state commands, 12 zones, and seven administrative organs.

The first police institution in Nigeria was established in 1820.

Over the following years, there was the establishment of several policing organizations across the country.

After having various policing institutions in different parts of the country, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was amalgamated, consolidated, and founded in 1930, with the late Mr. Louis Edet, as the first Inspector General.

The 1999 constitution designates the Force as the national police of the country. They have exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country.

The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) national headquarters is the Louis Edet House, Abuja FCT, Nigeria.

Duties and Functions of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)

  • Enforcement of law and order
  • Prosecution of defaulters, armed robbers, or buglers
  • Investigation of criminal cases
  • To safeguard banks, government properties, as well as other buildings of note.
  • To safeguard government functionaries, expatriates, and other individuals on national assignment.

The Police are definitely your friend if you adhere to the law. If you don’t, then you might not be able to call them your friends.

The Nigeria Police also occasionally perform some military functions of peace-keeping during moments of societal unrest.

Head (Leadership) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is headed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) appointed by the country’s president.

The Inspector General is supported by Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) and Commissioners.

Besides being the most senior police officer, the IGP is the police officer with the highest salary.

Past and Present Inspectors General of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)

The highest rank in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The Inspector General also doubles as the head of the Nigeria Police Force.

Below is a list of past and present Inspectors General of Police and the period they served in the position;

  1. IGP Louis Edet                                     1964 – 1966
  2. IGP Kam Salem                                   1966 – 1975
  3. IGP Muhammadu Dikko Yusufu      1975 – 1979
  4. IGP Adamu Suleiman                        1979 – 1981
  5. IGP Sunday Adewusi                         1981 – 1983
  6. IGP Etim Inyang                                  1985 – 1986
  7. IGP Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta    1986 – 1990
  8. IGP Aliyu Atta                                      1990 – 1993
  9. IGP Ibrahim Coomassie                     1993 – 1999
  10. IGP Musiliu Smith                             1999 – 2002
  11. IGP Mustafa Adebayo Balogun        2002 – 2005
  12. IGP Sunday Ehindero                        2005 – 2007
  13. IGP Mike Mbama Okiro                     2007 – 2009
  14. IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo 2009 – 2010
  15. IGP Hafiz Ringim                               2010 – 2012
  16.  IGP Mohammed Dikko Abubarkar 2012 – 2014
  17. IGP Suleiman Abba                          2014 – 2015
  18. IGP Solomon E. Arase                         2015 – 2016
  19. IGP Ibrahim Idris Kpotum (Acting) 2016 – 2019
  20. IGP Adamu Mohammed                    2019 – Date

Who is the Inspector General of Police in 2021?

The Inspector-General of Police in 2021 is IGP Adamu Mohammed.

Who is the first Inspector General of Police?

The first Inspector General of Police is IGP Louis Edet.

Uniform of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) officers wear a black on black outfit with a black cap.

They are commonly called the “men in black” due to their black on black attire.

However, the mobile police, an arm of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), have their officers appear in a black on green outfit.

Related: 17 Current Problems of Education in Nigeria & Possible Solutions

The Nigerian Armed Forces

The Nigerian Armed Forces are the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is the combination of all armed security outfits in the country with its principal components being;

  • The Nigerian Army (NA)
  • The Nigerian Air Force (NAF)
  • The Nigerian Navy·   

The Nigerian Armed Forces have their headquarters in Abuja, just like many other security agencies in Nigeria.

Functions of the Nigerian Armed Forces

The general functions of the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Air Force, and Navy are;

  • To follow and uphold the Nigerian Constitution.
  • Defending the country from external and internal aggression.
  • Maintaining the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
  • Securing Nigerian borders from violations on the land, sea, and/or air.
  • Restoration of order in and out of the country.

The Nigerian Army (NA)

The Nigerian Army (NA) is a part and the largest component of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and is responsible for land warfare operations.

This security outfit is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC) and is popular amongst the securities agencies in Nigeria.

The NA is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s territories and fighting in times of war.

They are also deployed during civil unrest moments just as they are sometimes sent on peacekeeping missions outside the country.

Functions of the Nigerian Army

The functions of the Nigerian Army include;

  • To follow and uphold the Nigerian Constitution.
  • Defending the country from external and internal aggression.
  • Maintaining the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
  • Securing Nigerian borders from violations on land.
  • Restoration of peace and order in and out of the country.
Uniform of the Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Army soldiers appear in green camouflage uniforms.

Head of the Nigerian Army

The head of the Nigerian Army is called the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Below is a list of Chiefs of the Nigerian Army from 1956 to date.

  1. Maj Gen Kenneth G. Exham (GOC)                   1956–1959
  2. Maj Gen Norman Foster (GOC)                         1960–1962 
  3. Maj Gen John Alexander Mackenzie (GOC)           1963
  4. Maj Gen Sir Christopher Welby-Everard (GOC)    1963–1965
  5. Maj Gen Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (GOC)                 1965–1966
  6. Lt Col Yakubu Gowon FSS       (COAS)     Jan 1966 – Jul 1966
  7. Lt Col Joseph Akahan OFR FSS (COAS)     May 1967 – May 1968
  8. Maj Gen Hassan Katsina rcds psc (COAS)  May 1968 – Jan 1971  
  9. Maj Gen David Ejoor (COAS)          Jan 1971 – Jul 1975      
  10. Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (COAS)   Jul 1975 – Oct 1979      
  11. Lt Gen Ipoola Alani Akinrinade CFR FSS (COAS) Oct 1979 – Apr 1980    
  12. Lt Gen Gibson Jalo CFR FSS JSS  (COAS) Apr 1980 – Oct 1981   
  13. Lt Gen Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi CFR FSS (COAS) Oct 1981 – Oct 1983
  14. Maj Gen Ibrahim Babangida (COAS)      Jan 1984 – Aug 1985
  15. Lt Gen Sani Abacha GCON, DSS mni (COAS)      Aug 1985 – Aug 1990
  16. Lt Gen Salihu Ibrahim FSS FHWC       (COAS)     Aug 1990 – Sep 1993  
  17. Lt Gen Aliyu Gusau Mohammed DSS rcds (COAS) Sept 1993 – Nov 1993
  18. Maj Gen Chris Alli CRG DSS ndc psc(+)  (COAS) Nov 1993 – Aug 1994 
  19. Maj Gen Alwali Kazir DSS Usawc psc(+) (COAS)   Aug 1994 – Mar 1996
  20. Lt Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi DSS Usawc psc(+) (COAS) Mar 1996 – May 1999
  21. Lt Gen Victor Malu DSS mni fwc psc (COAS)         May 1999 – April 2001
  22. Lt Gen Alexander Ogomudia (COAS)                 April 2001 – Jun 2003
  23. Lt Gen Martin Luther Agwai (COAS)                 Jun 2003 – Jun 2006
  24. Lt Gen Owoye Andrew Azazi (COAS)                   1 Jun 2006 – May 2007
  25. Lt Gen Luka Yusuf (COAS)                    Jun 2007 – Aug 2008   
  26. Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (COAS)    Aug 2008 – Sept 2010 
  27. Lt Gen Onyabor Azubuike Ihejirika (COAS)         Sept 2010 – Jan 2014  
  28. Lt Gen Kenneth Minimah (COAS)                      Jan 2014 – Jul 2015     
  29. Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (COAS)                   Jul 2015 – Jan 2021
  30. Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru (COAS) Jan 2021 – Present.

Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru is the Chief of Army Staff in 2021.

Longest Serving Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff

Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai is the current longest-serving Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff.

The Borno-born highly ranked military personnel spent a total of 66 months (Jul 2015 – Jan 2021) as the nation’s top army chief beating Lt Gen Sani Abacha’s record of 60 months (Aug 1985 – Aug 1990).

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF)

This is another security outfit in Nigeria that is under the Nigerian Armed Forces.

They work together with the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Navy and basically carry out their air operations.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is amongst the most massive air forces in Africa and has about 15,000 personnel.

The Nigerian Air Force was formally established on 18th April 1964 with the passage of the Air Force Act 1964 by the Nigerian National Assembly.

They are charged with the duty of defending the country by air.

Functions of the Nigerian Air Force

The functions of the Nigerian Air Force include;

  • To follow and uphold the Nigerian Constitution.
  • Defending the country from external and internal air aggression.
  • Maintaining the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
  • Securing Nigerian borders from violations on air.
  • Restoration of order in and out of the country.
  • Close Air Support.
  • Maritime Air Operations
  • Air Transport Operations
Uniform of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)

When it comes to the Nigerian Air Force uniform color, they use dark blue uniforms for parades, and the combat uniform for pilots has green khaki color.

Head of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)

The head of the Nigerian Air Force is called the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS).

Below is a list of Chiefs of the Nigerian Air Force to date;

  1. Colonel Gerhard Kahtz                         5 May 1963 – 11 Nov 1965
  2. Colonel Wolfgang Thimmig                     24 Nov 1965 – 18 Jan 1966
  3. Lieutenant colonel George T. Kurubo         19 Jan 1966 – 4 Aug 1967
  4. Colonel Shittu Alao                                5 Aug 1967 – 15 Oct 1969
  5. Brigadier Emmanuel E Ikwue                  18 Dec 1969 – 28 Jul 1975
  6. Air Vice-Marshal John Nmadu Yisa-Doko    29 Jul 1975 – 14 Apr 1980
  7. Air Vice-Marshal Abdullahi Dominic Bello  14 Apr 1980 – 31 Dec 1983
  8. Air Marshal Ibrahim Mahmud Alfa           1 Jan 1984 – 1 Jan 1990
  9. Air Vice-Marshal Nuraini Yussuff               2 Jan 1990 – 30 Jan 1992
  10. Air Marshal Akin Dada                          1 Feb 1992 – 16 Sep 1992
  11. Air Vice-Marshal Femi John Femi              17 Sep 1992 – 29 Mar 1996
  12. Air Marshal Nsikak-Abasi Essien Eduok   30 Mar 1996 – 29 May 1999
  13. Air Marshal Isaac Alfa                           29 May 1999 – 23 Apr 2001
  14. Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep                       24 Apr 2001 – 31 May 2006
  15. Air Marshal Paul Dike                           1 Jun 2006 – 19 Aug 2008
  16. Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin                   20 Aug 2008 – 18 Sep 2010
  17. Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar   19 Sep 2010 – 3 Oct 2012
  18. Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh              4 Oct 2012 – 15 Jan 2014
  19. Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu     16 Jan 2014 – 12 Jul 2015
  20. Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar                 13 Jul 2015 ­- 26 Jan 2021
  21. Air Vice-Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao 27 Jan 2021 – Present

Air Vice-Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao is the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in 2021.

The Nigerian Navy (NN)

The Nigerian Navy is another security agency under the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The Navy is amongst the largest navies in Africa had has several thousand personnel, including Coast Guards.

The NN protect the nation’s water by stiffly combating any form of threat from the water.

The Nigerian Navy (NN) has three operational commands located in;

  • Bayelsa
  • Calabar and
  • Lagos.

The history of the Nigerian Navy can be traced back to the Nigerian Marines, which was formed in 1914 after The Amalgamation.

The Nigerian Marine gave way for new organizations like the Nigerian Ports Authority, Inland Waterways Department, and the Nigerian Naval Force.

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.

Functions of the Nigerian Navy (NN)

The 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.
  • Securing 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.
Uniform of the Nigerian Navy (NN)

When it comes to the Nigerian Navy uniform color, they use a white uniform for ceremonial outings and wear green khaki camouflage color other times.

Head of the Nigerian Navy (NN)

The head of the Nigerian Navy (NN) is called the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS).

The CNS is the highest-ranking military officer of the Nigerian Navy and is often occupied by the most senior commissioned officer appointed by the president.

Below is a list of Chiefs of Naval Staff to date;

  1. Captain F.W. Skutil        CNS                   1956 – 1958
  2. Commodore A.R. Kennedy CNS                 1958 – 1964
  3. Vice Commodore J.E.A. Wey OFR FSS CNS 1964 – 1973
  4. Vice Admiral N.B. Soroh MFR FSS IDC CNS   1973 – 1975
  5. Vice Admiral M.A Adelanwa GCON FSS rcds  CNS 1975 – 1980
  6. Vice Admiral A.A. Aduwo CFR FSS FBIM CNS    1980 – 1983
  7. Rear Admirall A.A. Aikhomu FSS psc mni CNS         1984 – 1986
  8. Vice-Admiral Patrick Koshoni FSS psc mni  CNS         1986 – 1990
  9. Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako FSS psc mni    CNS         1990 – 1992
  10. Vice Admiral D.P.E Omotsola FSS DSO psc rcds CNS 1992 – 1993
  11. Rear Admiral S. Sa’idu FSS LSS MSS DSS rcds CNS 1993 
  12. Rear Admiral A.A. Madueke FSS DSS MRNI mni CNS 1993 – 1994
  13. Rear Admiral O.M Akhigbe FSS DSS psc mni  CNS 1994 – 1998
  14.  Vice Admiral J. Ayinla DSS psc Usnwc fwc GCON CNS  1998 – 1999
  15. Vice Admiral V.K. Ombu CFR mni      CNS 1999 – 2001
  16. Vice Admiral S.O. Afolayan DSS psc fwc CNS 2001 – 2005
  17. Vice Admiral G.T.A. Adekeye DSS psc mirss mni CNS 2005 – 2008
  18. Vice Admiral I.I. Ibrahim CFR DSS psc fwc CNS         2008 – 2010
  19. Vice Admiral O.S. Ibrahim DSS psc rcds fwc LLB (Hons) MA CNS 2010 – 2012
  20. Vice Admiral D.J. Ezeoba GSS fwc Msc MRIN FCIS CNS 2012 – 2013
  21. Vice Admiral U.O. Jibrin GSS AM psc+ mni LLB PGCPA CNS 2013 – 2015
  22. Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas CNS 2015 – 2021
  23. Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo CNS 2021 – Present

Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo is the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) in 2021.

Joint Task Force (JTF) – Another Branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces

Besides the NA, NAF, and NN, there is another component of the Nigerian Armed Forces – the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta.

The JTF is an inter-service operational team that has members from each branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The function of the Joint Task Force is to maintain peace and hope in the Niger Delta.

JTF headquarters is in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Head of the Nigerian Armed Forces

The head of the Nigerian Armed Forces is the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

The CDS is the highest-ranking military officer in Nigeria, and the position is usually occupied by the most senior commissioned officer appointed by the president.

The post was established under Nigeria’s 1979 constitution to be the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He is assisted by the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

List of Past and Present Nigeria Chiefs of Defence Staff
  1. Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade                          (1980 – 1981)
  2. Lt. General Gibson Jalo                                         (1981 – 1983)
  3. General Domkat Bali                                             (1984 – 1990)
  4. General Sani Abacha                                             (1990 – 1993)
  5. Lt. General Oladipo Diya                                         (1993 – 1997)
  6. General Abdulsalami Abubakar                  (1997 – 1998)
  7. Air Marshal Al-Amin Daggash                                 (1998 – 1999)
  8. Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi                                         (1999 – 2003)
  9. General Alexander Ogomudia          (Jun 2003 – Jun 2006)
  10. General Martin Luther Agwai                 (Jun 2006 – May 25, 2007)
  11. General Owoye Andrew Azazi          (May 25, 2007 – Aug 20, 2008)
  12. Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike     (Aug 20, 2008 – Sep 8, 2010)
  13. Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin (Sep 8, 2010 – Oct 5, 2012)
  14. Admiral Ola Ibrahim                  (Oct 5, 2012 – Jan 16, 2014)
  15. Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh (Jan 16, 2014 – Jul 13, 2015)
  16. Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin  (July 13, 2015 – Jan 26, 2021)
  17. Major General Leo Irabor (Jan 27, 2021 – Present)

Major General Leo Irabor is the Chief of Defence Staff in 2021.

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is one of the cardinal security agencies in Nigeria.

This agency came into existence following the dissolution of the National Security Organization (NSO).

The agency, along with the State Security Service (SSS) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is under the National Security Adviser’s watch.

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations in Nigeria.

Their duty is similar to that of the USA’s CIA, UK’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad.

The staff is highly skilled, intelligent, and discreet and has a manifest to preserve the country’s eminence, pride, and dignity.

Functions of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

  •  To oversee foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations.
  • To preserve the eminence, pride, and dignity of the country.
  • To repossess and intercept secret information that is capable of imperiling Nigeria’s national interest.
  • To prevent the breach of National security.

Head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

The head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is called the Director-General.

List of Past and Present Directors General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

  1. Chief Albert K. Horsfall                         1986–1990
  2. Brigadier-General Haliru Akilu (Rtd)         1990–1993
  3. Ambassador Zakari Y. Ibrahim         1993–1998
  4.  Ambassador Godfrey B. Preware    1998–1999
  5. Ambassador Uche O. Okeke                   1999–2007
  6. Ambassador Emmanuel E. Imohe  2007–2009 (Sept 2009)
  7. Ambassador Olaniyi Oladeji                    2009–2013 (Oct 2013)
  8. Ambassador Ayo Oke                           2013–2017 (Oct 2017)
  9. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar                         2018–Till-date

Ahmed Rufai Abubakar is the current Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2021.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

This security agency was founded in 1986 and has the responsibility of overseeing the nation’s military intelligence.

It gathers military intelligence for the Ministry of Defense and Nigerian Armed Forces.

It is the primary military intelligence agency of Nigeria.

Functions of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

The functions of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) include;

  • To enhance military cooperation with other countries
  • To see to the promotion of the nation’s Defense Policy.
  • To maintain territorial integrity.
  • Protects the lives of Nigerian citizens.

Head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is headed by the Chief of Defense Intelligence (CDI) appointed by the President of the country.

List of Past and Present Chief of Defense Intelligence (CDIs) of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

  1. Brigadier General A.G. Mohammed         January 1985 – August 1985
  2. Lt Colonel Haliru Akilu                          August 1985 – July 1986
  3. Rear Admiral Babatunde Elegbede         July 1986 – January 1990
  4. Colonel Haliru Akilu                               January 1990 – Sept 1990
  5. Group Captain Idi Musa                           Sept 1990 – December 1991
  6. Major General Ibrahim Dahiru Gumel   Dec 1991 – March 1995
  7. Air Vice-Marshal Idi Musa                        March 1995 – July 1999
  8. Vice Admiral J.M. Ajayi                         July 1999 – September 2005
  9. Major General A.M. Halidu-Giwa            Dec 2005 – August 2007
  10. Major General Mohammed Said             August 2007 – July 2009
  11. Major General Babagana Monguno        July 2009 – September 2011
  12. Major General S.Y. Audu                         Sept 2011 – February 2014
  13. Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi                       February 2014 – July 2015
  14. Air Vice-Marshal Monday Riku Morgan July 2015 – January 2016
  15. Major General John Saduana franklin  January 2016 – July 2016
  16. Air Vice-Marshal MS Usman                   July 2016 – present

Air Vice-Marshal MS Usman is the present Chief of Defense Intelligence (CDIs) of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 2021.

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Final Words on the Security Agencies in Nigeria

Globally, the maintenance of security remains an increasing concern of every government.

Just as insecurity is on the increase in various parts of the world, so it is in Nigeria.

Nigeria, as the Giant of Africa, is doing everything possible to maintain security in the country.

This article highlights all the security agencies in Nigeria, helping the country achieve peace and normalcy.

What’s your view?

Which of these Nigerian security agencies have you heard of?

You can drop comments on what you think about these security agencies in Nigeria, in the comment section.

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