Military Power of Nigeria

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is often referred to as "The Giant of Africa" owing to its large population of 186 million inhabitants and an economy with a Nominal GDP estimated at $500 billion. Covering a total area of 923,768 km² in Western Africa, oil is the country's dominant source of income, however, in the recent years, economic growth has also been driven by growth in other sectors such as manufacturing, finance, services, telecommunications, and entertainment (music & film production).

Oil is the lifeblood of any country's military and Nigeria happens to hold vast quantities of this black gold. As of 2011, there were 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The country ranks as the largest oil producer in Africa and also the sixth largest in the world with an average production of 2.5 million barrels per day. 

Nigeria's military, The Nigerian Armed Forces is the largest in West Africa. It was ranked the 4th most powerful military in Africa & 36th most powerful globally by Global Fire Power (GFP) 2013. It's annual defense budget averages around $3 billion dollars and it has active duty personnel in the Army, Air Force & Navy totaling to around 200,000 troops and 300,00 Paramilitary Personnel. Nigeria's army has also had a strong military coup culture and between 1966-1999, up to 10 military coups took place. 

When it comes to military combat experience, Nigeria's armed forces have only fought in the Nigerian-Biafran civil war and during the civil wars in Liberia & Sierra Leone. Nigerian troops are also regularly deployed on peacekeeping missions abroad. Currently, Nigeria's military is engaged in armed conflict with militias in the Niger Delta & Boko Haram an Islamic militant organization with links to Al Qaeda. 

Based on recent data from Global Fire Power, Nigeria's land forces are armed with 363 tanks, 48 self-propelled guns, 1,407 armored fighting vehicles, 120 portable anti-tank weapons, 300 portable mortar systems, 680 towed artillery pieces, 6000 logistical vehicles.The Air Force has a total of 294 aircraft and 84 helicopters. Its armed with Chinese Chengdu F-7 fighter jets, German & French made Dassault-Dornier jets and Russian Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunships. Nigeria's total navy strength is 37 ships which include 2 frigates, 4 corvettes, 16 coastal patrol craft and 2 mine warfare craft. 

Nigeria's military hardware is not impressive. 363 tanks only is a small number for the world's 10th largest oil producer. The army should be having at least 500 if not 1000 tanks, the air force should be flying F-15's not Chinese made jets. Only the Navy makes an impression because of the frigates & corvettes but still, it should be sailing submarines and destroyers in the waters of the Atlantic ocean.


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