Nigerian Army Ranks and Symbols: All You Need To Know
The Nigerian Army
The Nigerian Army is one of the three bodies (the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force) protecting Nigerian citizens. This military body protects the country from internal and external crisis. It has contributed the most to the suppression of terrorist group, Boko Haram. This body definitely plays a great role for the country, and it is really worthwhile knowing some things about it. In this article, ‘Nigerian Army Ranks and Symbols: All You Need To Know’, we will discuss the Nigerian Army ranks and their corresponding emblems.
The formation of the Nigerian Army dates back to as far 1863 when a member of the Royal Navy selected 18 persons from the Northern part of Nigeria. Lieutenant Glover, the member of the Royal Navy in question, organised these 18 men into a force. The group was named ‘Glover Hausas’, but in 1865 the group’s name changed to ‘Hausa Constabulary’. From Hausa Constabulary, it became Lagos Constabulary before it was later incorporated into the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF).
Upon incorporation of the group into the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) in 1901, it became the Lagos Battalion of West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF). Groups alongside with which Lagos Constabulary operated include: the Royal Niger Company (RNC), the Constabulary Force in Northern Nigeria and the Oil Rivers. In 1956, the need to regionalise the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) was felt, and it was executed. The West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) was regionalised which gave way to the Nigerian Army. The Nigerian Army has ever since functioned as an independent military body.
Nigerian Army Ranks
Just like every other organization, the Nigerian Army is made up of individuals in different ranks. Each rank has a specific duty attached to it. Of all the 16 military ranks, there are 15 of them which are attainable, and 1 which is unattainable. The 15 attainable ranks are namely: Lance Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Sergeant First Class (Warrant Officer), Master Sergeant (Master Warrant Officer), Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier, Major General, Lieutenant General and General. The one rank which no one has ever reached in the Nigerian Army, is the General of the Army (Army Field Marshal)
Lance Corporal: This is the lowest rank in the Nigerian Army. It is the rank assumed by trainees who have just been successfully accepted by the Nigerian Army. A Lance Corporal can be identified by one shoulder mark on both shoulders.
Corporal: The Corporal is the next rank that a Lance Corporal assumes. It is also the second rank in the Nigerian Army. Military personnels in this rank are identified by two shoulder marks — there will be two shoulder marks on both shoulders of the personnel.
Sergeant: Sergeant is a better rank than Lance Corporal and Corporal. A Sergeant in the Nigerian is also a junior non-commissioned Nigerian Army officer. Sergeants have three shoulder marks, three on both shoulders.
Staff Sergeant: Staff Sergeant comes next after Sergeant. While a Sergeant is a junior non-commissioned Nigerian Army officer, a Staff Sergeant is a senior non-commissioned Nigerian Army officer. Just like a Sergeant, a Staff Sergeant has three shoulder marks. What distinguishes a Staff Sergeant from a Sergeant, is a golden eagle on top of the three shoulder marks.
Sergeant First Class (Warrant Officer): The next rank after Staff Sergeant is Sergeant First Class, and this rank is also known as Warrant Officer. It is a good rank for a young military personnel. A Sergeant First Class (Warrant Officer) can be identified by the golden eagle surrounded by golden crown made of olive leaves.
Master Sergeant (Master Warrant Officer): Master Sergeant, also known as Master Warrant Officer, is the highest non-commissioned rank in the Nigerian Army. Master Sergeant (Master Warrant Officer) are charged to deal with military equipments. A Master Sergeant (Master Warrant Officer) can be identified by an insignia which has the Nigerian coat of arms only
Second Lieutenant: Second Lieutenant is the lowest commissioned officer rank. The word ‘lieutenant’ means substitute, and Second Lieutenant means the second substitute of a Captain. The insignia designated to this rank a single six-pointed star, the star seen in the Nigerian Army emblem.
First Lieutenant: First Lieutenant is the next rank to the Second Lieutenant among all Nigerian Army ranks. Just as you will guess, First Lieutenant means the first substitute of a Captain. The symbol of this Nigerian Army rank is made up of two six-pointed stars which are vertically aligned.
Captain: Captain is an impressive rank among Nigerian Army ranks. As discussed earlier, First Lieutenant and Secomd Lieutenant are subordinate ranks to this rank. The symbol of a Captain is made up of three six-pointed stars which are vertically aligned.
Major: Major is another Nigerian Army rank, but on a different phase from preceding Nigerian Army ranks. Majors can be recognised by one silver eagle on both shoulders.
Lieutenant Colonel: Lieutenant Colonel is one the most important ranks in the Nigerian Army. Majority of Nigerian Army leaders were in this rank when they assumed power. Becoming a Lieutenant Colonel is in no way an easy thing. The symbol of this rank is made up of one silver eagle and one six-pointed star. The silver eagle and the six-pointed star are vertically aligned with the silver eagle above and the six-pointed star below.
Colonel: Colonel is another top rank in the Nigerian Army. Any Nigerian Army personnel in this rank will be responsible for the regiments. A Colonel can be identified by one silver eagle and two six-pointed star. The silver eagle and the two six-pointed stars are all vertically aligned with the silver eagle above.
Brigadier: Brigadier is a powerful rank in the Nigerian Army. It is the highest rank in the Major-to-Brigadier phase. Just like Colonel, its symbol is made up of silver eagle and six-pointed stars. There is one silver eagle and three six-pointed stars arranged in a triangular form.
Major General: Major General is the first rank in the last and most powerful phase of ranks in the Nigerian Army. The symbol of Major General is made up of a golden eagle and a cross of sword and baton.
Lieutenant General: Lieutenant General is the third most powerful rank in the Nigerian Army. Its symbol is composed of all elements making up the symbol of Major General, and a golden six-pointed star.
General: General is the highest rank that has been attained by a military personnel. A General is identified by a silver eagle, two golden six-pointed stars and a cross of sword and baton. These elements are all vertical aligned.
General of the Army (Army Field Marshal): General of the Army, also known as Army Field Marshal, is the highest rank in the Nigerian Army. Interestingly, no personnel has ever ranked up to this rank. The insignia of General of the Army (Army Field Marshal) is made up of a golden eagle and a cross of sword and baton surrounded by two branches.
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