Military of Nigeria

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The Nigerian Armed Forces are the Armed Forces of the African nation of Nigeria. The military has active duty personnel in three armed services, totaling approximately 85,000 troops and 82,000 paramilitary personnel.[2] Its origins lie in the elements of the Royal West African Frontier Force that became Nigerian when independence was granted in 1960. In 1956 the Nigeria Regiment of the RWAFF was renamed the Nigerian Military Forces, RWAFF, and in April 1958 the colonial government of Nigeria took over from the British War Office control of the Nigerian Military Forces.[3]

Since its creation the Nigerian military has fought in a civil war – the conflict with Biafra in 1967-70 – and sent peacekeeping forces abroad both with the United Nations and as the backbone of the ECOWAS-sponsored ECOWAS Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also seized power twice at home (1966 & 1983) and today ‘has become entrenched in all facets of [Nigerian] civic and economic life,’ including manipulation of national political life – General Sani Abacha’s creation of artificial political parties – and a central role in the control and management of Nigeria’s oil wealth.[4]

In the aftermath of the civil war, the much expanded size of the military, around 250,000 in 1977, consumed a large part of Nigeria’s resources under military rule for little productive return. The great expansion of the military during the civil war further entrenched the existing military hold on Nigerian society carried over from the first military regime. In doing so, it played an appreciable part in reinforcing the military’s nearly first-among-equals status within Nigerian society, and the linked decline in military effectiveness. Olusegun Obasanjo, who by 1999 had become President, bemoaned the fact in his inaugural address that year: ‘..Professionalism has been lost. ..my heart bleeds to see the degradation in the proficiency of the military.’[5]

Nigeria sends many of its officers to Pakistan for training. Particularly, to institutions such as the Pakistan Military Academy, Command and Staff College in Quetta and to the National Defence University, Islamabad. Training establishments in Nigeria include the initial officer entry Nigerian Defence Academy at Kaduna, the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, where a new simulation centre is being established,([1]) and the National War College at Abuja([2]). The U.S. commercial military contractor Military Professional Resources Inc. has been involved from around 1999-2000 in advising on civil-military relations for the armed forces, including operating the simulation centre at the AFCSC.[6]

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