Nigerian Army Salary Based on Their Ranks in 2021

This write up will look at the different ranks in the Nigerian Army from the bottom up and how much they take home as monthly and annual salary.

One peculiar thing with the military service is how it organizes its officers into ranks, and how much respect this is accorded.

This is usually signified by a badge worn on the shoulder and badge used by the Nigerian army is similar to what is used by the United Kingdom because Nigeria is part of the Commonwealth nations.

Nigerian Army Salary

We shall divide the ranks into two groups; the enlisted (non-commissioned) officers and the commissioned officers.

A.) Enlisted Officers {Non-Commissioned Officers}

These are the ‘officers’ that are non-commissioned; i.e. they hold no position of authority.
They are the ‘low’ rank officers and it refers to all the rank below the Second Lieutenant; the recruits are promoted through these ranks.

Enlisted officers are organized into units and are assigned specific tasks in which they are supervised by the commissioned officers.

1.) Private

This is the lowest rank in the Nigerian Army; they are the newly recruited soldiers (recruits as many call them) and they have don’t have an emblem.

These officers are paid about 48,000 to 49,000 naira monthly and depending on whether the officers are involved in combat or not, they can be promoted in 7 to 10 months.

2.) Lance Corporal

Because this is the least rank in the Nigerian Army to have a badge, it is considered by some to be the lowest rank (leaving out the privates).

Their badges consist of one shoulder mark known as Chevron (i.e. a single arrowhead or V-shaped mark). They are paid 54,000 to 55,000 naira monthly.

3.) Corporal

This is the next lowest rank in the Nigerian Army and is attained by being promoted from the Lance corporal rank.

They can be identified by the double chevrons (double arrowhead or ‘V’) on their badges. They are paid roughly 58,000 naira a month.

4.) Sergeant

The next rank after being promoted from the Corporal rank and it is the third-lowest rank.

He is the highest of the junior enlisted officers in a small unit (squad) and is identified by the three chevrons they wear on their badges.

On average, Sergeants are paid 63,000 naira every month.

5.) Staff Sergeant

This is the fourth-lowest rank in the Nigerian Army and is achieved by being promoted from a Sergeant.

This is considered a senior non-commissioned rank and their badge comprises a golden eagle in addition to the three chevrons of the sergeant.

The average pay of the staff sergeant is 68,000 naira per month.

6.) Warrant Officer (Warrant Officer Class II)

Also known as the Sergeant First Class, this is the next rank after the Staff Sergeant and is quite an impressive rank to attain.

It denotes a good level of technical and tactical competence they are assigned special roles based on their areas of expertise.

They can be identified by the golden eagle surrounded by a golden crown (two olive branches) on their badges and are paid roughly 80,000 monthly.

7.) Master Warrant officer (Warrant Officer Class I)

Warrant officers are promoted to this rank and it is the highest enlisted rank in the Nigerian Army.

Their badge comprises a Golden Nigerian Coat of Arm with silver horses and are paid about 90,000 naira every month. They are also called the Master Sergeants.

8.) Regimental Sergeant Major

This in the actual sense, is not a rank, rather it is an appointment that is given to Warrant Officer I, but the rank is the same as the rest of the Master Warrant Officers.

B.) Commissioned Officers

These are the ‘officers’ in the real sense and are the ones assigned a position of authority (office).

It is reserved for cadets i.e. people who have passed through the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) or entered the Nigerian Army through the Short Service Commission or the Direct Short Service Commission.

The Direct Short Service is for applicants who wish to continue their respective field of study e.g. doctors who wish to continue in the military hospitals, etc.

The Short Service, on the other hand, is for those who wish to be deployed for combat (battlefield).

While the age range for both programs is different (lower for short service) the military training is about the same period.

These officers are assigned to different areas based on their expertise (courses of study), including engineering, intelligence, supply and transport, medicine and allied health, education, religious affairs, etc. The age range of entry also differs –is higher- from that of the Enlisted Officers.

1.) Second Lieutenant

This is the lowest commissioned rank and is obtained by going through a short service course.
They wear a single (six-point star on their badges) and on average are paid 120,000 naira per month.

The word ‘lieutenant’ means substitute hence they are the ‘substitutes’ to lieutenants.

They are promoted to the Lieutenant rank after about 18 months.

2.) Lieutenant

It is the same as the First Lieutenant and is the second-lowest commissioned rank in the Nigerian Army and is attained either from being promoted from the Second Lieutenant rank or through the Direct Short Service course.

They serve as deputies to the captains and their badges comprise two stars arranged one above the other.

The average monthly pay of Lieutenants in Nigeria is 180,000 naira.

3.) Captain

This is the next rank when promoted from the Lieutenant and the third lowest; and by context, means one who ‘commands the company’.

Their badge has three stars (one extra star from the Lieutenant rank) arranged in that order and salary is roughly 220,000 every month.

4.) Major

The rank between Captain and Lieutenant colonel and the fourth rank from below, which literally means something great.

His role is to arrange soldiers in regimental units and align them for battle, but they may have administrative roles as well.

They are identified by a single silver eagle on their badges and are paid 300,000 naira monthly.

5.) Lieutenant Colonel

As the name implies, they are the substitutes for the colonel and is quite a difficult rank to attain in the Nigerian Army.

Their badges comprise a single silver eagle next to a single star and the average pay is 350,000 naira a month.

6.) Colonel

Even among the Commissioned the officers, this is quite a senior rank, from history, the word is said to mean crown –no surprise there.

The badge is a single star added to the Lieutenant colonel rank i.e. two stars and one silver eagle. The salary is around 550,000 per month.

7.) Brigadier General

It is also known as One Star General. Though the lowest among the ‘general’ ranks, it is a very high rank in the Nigerian Army and is actually derived from the word brigade (a military unit composed of three to six battalions).

In other words, a Brigadier General is the commander of the brigade.

They wear three stars (in a triangular form) and a silver eagle on their badges (an added star to the Colonel rank). They are paid about 750,000 naira monthly.

8.) Major General

Otherwise called Two-Star General, is attained as the next step from the Brigadier General rank; remember that the word major means great.

The badge comprises of an eagle placed above a crossed sword and a baton, and the salary is 950,000 naira monthly.

The current Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari retired as a Major General.

9.) Lieutenant General

The Three-Star General acts as a deputy to the General; they have a crossed sword and baton, a golden star and a golden eagle arrange in that order from below on their badges.

The average pay is 1 million naira monthly.

As a fun fact, the current Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai is a Lieutenant General. There are also cases when Lieutenant Generals are made Chief of
Defense Staff.

10.) General

This is the highest rank known to have been attained by any officer in the Nigerian Army and is also known as the Four-Star General rank.

The badge comprises a crossed sword and batten below, two golden stars and a silver eagle (an added golden star to the Lieutenant General).

The salary is 1.5 million naira per month.

In the entire history of the Nigerian Army, there have only been 11 (four-star) generals; the first was General Yakubu Gowon.

General Abayomi Gabriel Olanisakin is also a Four-Star General.

11.) Field Marshall

And the highest possible rank, attainable in the Nigerian Army is the Field Marshall, also called the Five Star General.

Although, no Nigerian officer has ever achieved this feat; that explains how difficult it is.

If there was, he would wear a badge comprising a crossed sword and baton with a crown (two olive branches) around it and a golden eagle above it.

Since no one has attained it yet, there’s no telling what the salary would be.

Nigerian Army Ranks

  • Second Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier General
  • Major General
  • Lieutenant General
  • General Field Marshal

Final Statement

To sum it up, whether as a military officer, or someone who comes across these terms on the news, the rank of the Nigerian Army is similar to that of the other Commonwealth countries.

And knowing the ranks gives one an idea of how highly placed a recruit or an officer is in the force.

If you are thinking of choosing a career in the Nigerian Army, I want to say Thank You for Your Service and I hope this information was helpful to you.

Adebisi Frank

Hi Guys! My name is Adebisi Frank. This website is where I share how much Nigerians of different professions and industries makes and how much the top ones are worth.