Military Ranks


Military rank is more than just who salutes whom. Military rank is a badge of leadership. Responsibility for personnel, equipment, and mission grows with each increase in rank. The rank system forms the backbone of the army’s structure and it defines a soldier or officer’s role and degree of responsibility. Soldiers and Officers have different rank systems. Broadly speaking, officers have more leadership duties. However many Officers start off as soldiers, before gaining their commission. Do not confuse rank with military ...
appointment such as Commanders, Directors etc. Military appointments are administrative classifications used primarily to standardize duties across the military services. The army, for example, has the ranks of Brigadier General, Colonel etc, and then appointments as Commanders, Asistant Director Finance, Command Division Finance and Accounts etc. A Colonel is expected to fill a leadership role as a Commander with a correpsonding higher military position than a fellow Colonel even though both receive the same amount of pay. The official ranks in the Nigerian Army is based on two categories: The commissioned officers and the non-commissioned officers.


The post-colonial Nigerian Army (NA) traces its origins to 1863 when British Naval Lt. Glover established “Glover’s Hausas.” He used the small force of runaway slaves to mount expeditions to the hinterland primarily to protect British trade routes. From this humble beginning the West African Frontier Force later evolved and gave birth to the Nigerian Army. Badges of rank of the Nigerian Army are mostly patterned after those of the British army, except that the Nigerian eagle (from the Coat of Arms) replaces the British crown on ...
insignia of officers of the rank of Majors and above. the Titles may be ranks in some Armies but appointments in others. Some appointments are ceremonial or honorary. In the Canadian military for example, Army titles such as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer, Command Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer of a higher formation, Base Chief Warrant Officer, Trumpet or Bugle or Drum or Pipe Major are actually ‘appointments’ rather than ranks. In the British Army examples of appointments include Chaplain-General, Colonel-Commandant, Colonel-in-Chief, Colonel of the Regiment, Quarter-Master-General, etc.


Officer ranks in the Nigerian military consist of commissioned officers. Commissioned officers are graduates of military academies. The commissioned ranks are the highest in the military. These officers can hold presidential commissions and are confirmed at their ranks by the army. The Nigerian army officers’ ranks consists of eleven ranks, ranging from Second Lieutenant to Field Marshal.


Soldiers’ ranks in the Nigerian military consist of non-commissioned officers. A Soldier is one who serves in the Army and fights for pay. The name originates from Latin word soldus, short for the classical Latin word solidus. The Nigerian army soldiers’ ranks consists of eight ranks, ranging from Recruit to Army Warrant Officer. These are the current ‘harmonized’ ranks of the Nigerian Army (in descending order): ...


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


Non-Commissioned Officers (Other Ranks)

  • Army Warrant Officer (Also called a Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Warrant Officer or Force RSM)
  • Master Warrant Officer (Former WO Class 1 – Also called a Regimental Sergeant Major)
  • Warrant Officer (Former WO Class 2 – Also called a Company Sergeant Major)
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Lance Corporal
  • Private
  • Recruit