The Nigerian Army Ranks and Salary Structure

Many people are of the belief that the land-based arm of the armed forces in Nigeria receive hefty paychecks because of the nature of their jobs and the inherent hazards associated with their operation. However, contrary to these beliefs, most of them go home with just stipends, especially the officers that occupy the lower cadre in the command’s rank structure. These people are referred as non-commissioned officers who joined without any professional qualifications. The big paychecks only go to the commissioned officers; these are the high-ranking officers with the Chief of Army Staff as the highest-earning personnel.

Rank Profile of The Nigerian Army

The rank structure of the Nigerian Army is divided into two

  • The Commissioned Officers
  • Non-Commissioned Officers

Commissioned Officers

The commissioned officers of the Nigerian Army are the senior officers who got enlisted through the NDA (Nigerian Defense Academy), DSSC (the Direct Short Service Commission), or via the Short Service Commission. These officers are mostly holders of degrees, diplomas, or professional certificates in recognized courses. You will see such degrees as B.A, B.Sc, M.Sc, and even P.hD. Remuneration for the commissioned officers are noticeably higher than what is obtainable from the non-commissioned officers. Besides, they are part of the decision-making body of the Army as well as its leadership. The rank levels here are 11 in number and they include;

  1. Second Lieutenant – The rank symbol of the Second Lieutenant’s position is a silver star on two shoulders
  2. First Lieutenant – Two silver stars vertically arranged on both shoulders are the representation of the Lieutenant’s rank.
  3. Captain– The silver stars on both shoulders of the captain are three in number and he takes responsibility for a company of soldiers
  4. Major – Directly above a company of soldiers is a battalion and they are under the command of a Major, this rank is distinguished by a silver eagle on both shoulders.
  5. Lieutenant Colonel – In addition to a silver eagle, the Lieutenant Colonel also has one silver star vertically arranged on both shoulders.
  6. Colonel – The insignia of the Colonel include one silver eagle and two silver stars in a vertical arrangement on two shoulders.
  7. Brigadier General – As the name implies, the Brigadier General commands a brigade. Their insignia consists of one silver eagle plus three silver stars in a triangular arrangement.
  8. Major General – On both shoulders of the Major general, you will find a crossed golden sword plus baton, underneath a golden eagle.
  9. Lieutenant General – The crossed golden sword plus baton, a gold star, and eagle are found on the shoulders of the Lieutenant-General all arranger vertically.
  10. General – Vertically arranged on the shoulders of the General are crossed golden sword plus baton, two stars, and one eagle all in gold.
  11. Field Marshal – The insignia for this rank consists of a crossed golden sword plus baton, enclosed by a couple of branches with a gold-colored eagle sitting at the top. This is the peak position in the army and has never been attained by any Nigerian.

Non-commissioned Officers

The non-commissioned officers are the ones referred to as junior officers and they join the Nigerian Army through massive recruitment otherwise known as the direct recruitment process. Also known as the rank and file, most of these personnel are either OND (National Diploma), SSCE, WAEC, Trade Test, or First School Leaving Certificate Holders. These people occupy the lower echelon in the Army and are usually the ones to bear the brunt of any military operation embarked on by their command. Training for the rank and file last for six months before deployment and they undertake tasks like maintenance, weapon handling and explosives, administration, base defense, special welfare, VI protection, direct actions, medicals, search and rescues, and many more. There are eight levels in all;

  1. Recruit – These are new enrollees
  2. Private – People that fall under this rank are the freshers who have no insignia (badge holding the symbols of military officer’s rank).
  3. Lance Corporal – Their insignia has a single mark located on the shoulder
  4. Corporal – Commands a small team of Lance Corporals, ensuring that they carry out assigned duties and maintain very high standard appearance-wise. Two marks are found on the Corporal’s insignia.
  5. Sergeant – The symbol of a sergeant’s ranks consists of three marks
  6. Staff Sergeant – Usually function as squadron leaders, the Staff Sergeant has a golden eagle with three marks underneath.
  7. Warrant Officer II – A golden eagle is surrounded by a golden coronet of olive leaves on the insignia of a Warrant Officer II
  8. Master Warrant Officer or Warrant Officer I – These are technical specialists and the highest rank within the circle of non-commissioned officers. Silver horses and a golden-colored Nigerian Coat of Arms make up their insignia.

The Nigerian Army; Salary Structure

Personnel of the Nigerian army are paid based on the ranks they occupy. Officers that belong to the higher echelons receive higher pay than those occupying the lower ranks. In addition to their basic pay, Army officers receive additional stipends like Hazard allowance. special benefits and allowances are also paid for military operations, special assignments, foreign missions such as peacekeeping, Estacada, and duty tours.

The salary of the Nigerian army is based on CONAFSS (Consolidate Armed Forces Salary Structure); the commissioning for this salary structure was done in 2017. With CONAFSS, the rank and file of the Army now earns a higher income, but still way below the earnings of the commissioned officers.

1 Field Marshal Yet to be attained
2 General N1,500.000
3 Lieutenant General N1,000,000
4 Major General N950,000
5 Brigadier General N750,000
6 Colonel N550,000
7 Lieutenant Colonel N350,000
8 Major N300,000
9 Captain N220,000
10 Lieutenant N180,000
11 Second Lieutenant N120,000
1 Warrant Officer Class 1 N90,000
2 Warrant Officer Class 2 N80,000
3 Staff Sergeant N68,000
4 Sergeant N63,000
5 Corporal N58,000
6 Lance – corporal N55,000
7 Private N49,000
8 Recruit N/A

What Requirements are Needed For One To Enlist In The Nigerian Army

People hoping to enlist in the Nigerian army must download and fill their online forms and submit the printout at their respective screening centers. They should equally be aware of the requirements they must meet before they can be considered. These requirements are:

  • Applicants must be of Nigerian Origin
  • Age bracket is between 18 and 22 years
  • Proof of mental and physical fitness must be tendered by a qualified medical practitioner from government hospitals
  • Height for men is 1.65m while women must be up to 1.56m.
  • Applicant must not be an ex-convict or previously charged with any crime.


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