EVERYTHING which we expected to happen in the Northeast as enunciated here and on discussion forums(Cybereagles Forum circa November 2009 when the outgone COAS General Dambazau gave indications to the effect that a revised ORBAT was on the cards, and again in Q1 2010 and Q2 2011) as we discussed the security situation in Nigeria) bar a fresh stand for a foothold in the mountains has come to pass.

Let us toy with ideas. If we did so with the West African Standby Brigade, nothing stops us from doing so in the patriotic spirit. It is OUR father’s Army. ANYWAY, time to gaze into that old crystal ball again


PREAMBLE: As of now, the ONLY geopolitical zones of the country which do not play host to the HQ Garrison of any army division are


*The South South is under the AOR of various brigades which are either under 2 Mechanised Division(with HQ in Ibadan, SW Nigeria) and 82 Composite Division(with HQ in Enugu, SE Nigeria).

* The North East, a large AOR spanning over 265, 000 sq.km. Some places in this AOR such as Kukawa and Arege are 900-1,000km away from Jos by road) are under the 3 Armoured Division with HQ in Jos, North Central Nigeria.

3 ARMD also covers Plateau and Nasarawa states in NC Nigeria

Coincidentally, the North East and the Niger Delta have these past five years proved to be the most insecurity/insurgency prone regions of the federation. The manifestations of insecurity include but are not limited to petro-terrorism, piracy, insurgency, islamist militancy, terrorism and weapons trafficking, both in the littoral deep South and the desert Far North.

The Nigerian Army seem set to realign and better position themselves with a view on getting a firm handle in these remote, geographically challenging and volatile regions of the federation.


To this end, do not be surprised to see

*a new COMPOSITE DIVISION with a STRONG DESERT WARFARE+SPECIAL FORCES+AIRBORNE bias to be HQed in MAIDUGURI (with GOMBE,YOBE AND BORNO states). Remember that Boko Haram first started out from behind the desert sand dunes of the Yusufari-Kanamma axis, with gunrunning and movement of mercenaries from Niger and Chad?

*a new AMPHIBIOUS DIVISION with a STRONG COIN+SPECIAL FORCES bias to be HQed in PORT HARCOURT( to cover the NIGER DELTA exclusively)

This will inevitably lead to the creation of new brigades, batallions and regiments to ensure that ALL divisions are kept at full strength. Brigades will take off on the backs of existing regiments and batallions in various states.



*3 ARMOURED DIVISION WILL CONTINUE as presently constituted but will now cover NASARAWA, BAUCHI, GOMBE, TARABA AND PLATEAU STATES in NE and NC Nigeria.



* today’s 81 DIVISION (whose designation would probably be taken by a possible new division HQed at PHC) will revert to being the LAGOS GARRISON COMMAND


* 82 DIVISION could emerge as AN ARTILLERY DIVISION with HQ at ENUGU. That should dispel notions of strategic abandonment which has been ringing out loud in recent times and ensure North-South parity, with the Armoured Division in the North and the Artillery division in the South. With some of its brigades pulled out to form the new amphibious division HQed in PHC, TWO NEW BRIGADES could emerge in that AOR

– a new artillery brigade in Makurdi

– a new mechanised brigade in Umuahia(the 14 Infantry has since been formed)

* a possible NEW DIVISION HQed at Maiduguri will have two new brigades to bring it up to strength

– a new mechanised brigade in restive and saharan YOBE state.

We could see the emergence of the first-ever wholesale desert warfare batallion to be stationed at Nguru or Yusufari. The brigade will also have an armoured batallion, an artillery regiment and an airborne batallion, all concentrated on Yobe state.

– a new artillery brigade will probably emerge in GOMBE state.

*the NEW DIVSION(which could become 81 Amphibious Division) in PHC would probably lead to the emergence of a crack amphibious brigade in BAYELSA.


To have three divisions up North and three divisions down South, with the AHQ Garrison Command in Abuja and a LAGOS GARRISON COMMAND to balance up the picture.

(PS: The above scenario was first painted on Cybereagles Forum in November 2009 during the course of discussions with a posse of brilliant and patriotic military-savvy Nigerians such as Fregulf, Igbanibo, Ocelot 2006, Uche Africanus, Eyimola, Kash ‘n’ Karry et al)


The AOR of 3 Armoured Div touches on some towns which are a full 900-1,000km apart in terms of road distance eg Gembu to Arege or Arege and Shendam. That AOR is as large as Poland or Cote d’Ivoire. That appears to be too much for one division to handle since it is not an empty quarter such as we have in the saharan Adrar or Tamanrasset Prefectures in the Far South of Algeria.

Even as it is the largest division of the Nigerian Army(with SIX brigade-sized formations), 3 Armoured Division’s AOR not only spans 1,000 miles of international frontiers with Cameroon, Chad and Niger but ALSO covers what is easily the most volatile AOR of Nigeria

To the SE of Jos, Yola is 540kms distant. From there, garrisons such as Serti and Takum are located over 400kms away. MANY garrisons under the 3 Div AOR such Baga, Monguno, Biu, Mubi, Bama and Serti are situated 500-600 miles down the road from the Div HQ Garrison at Jos.

In the light of contemporary challenges, methinks a well drilled infantry division should be formed in the outer states of the Northeast (Yobe,Borno and Adamawa), leaving 3 Armoured Div with an AOR that spans Bauchi,Taraba,Gombe,Plateau and Nasarawa states.

The Northeast features mountains, desert terrain, jungle and savanna and it is imperative that the Army’s ORBAT reflects the full diversity of operating environments which suffice across the federation.

The only difference is that, in line with our peculiar realities, the said infantry division should have some modifications which reflect the strategic juxtaposition of that region. That explains the emphasis on strong armoured and artillery components.


*one infantry brigade at Maiduguri incorporating two counterinsurgency-biased battalions at MDGR, a desert warfare battalion at Damasak,an artillery regiment at Biu and a tank battalion at Bama – five battalions+Bde HQ Garrison since Borno is equal in size to Rwanda,Burundi and The Gambia put together and shares borders with three countries)

*an infantry brigade with HQ in Damaturu with a desert warfare battalion at Yusufari, counterinsurgency-biased battalion at Damaturu and an armoured battalion at Potiskum plus Bde HQ Garrison.

*an infantry brigade with an airborne battalion+Bde HQ at Yola, a mountain warfare battalion at Madagali, an armoured battalion at Numan and an artillery regiment at Mubi

*Divisional HQ Garrison at Maiduguri with all elements in tow – Base Ammo Depot, Div Signals, Div Engineers, Provost battalion, S & T battalion, MI Group, Recce Bn etc

So how do you copy, gentlemen? Let’s explore possibilities, albeit unsolicited and unofficially, for your Army and in the national interest.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. Chidi says:

    Again brilliant points, I’d say however that a division of artillery would be a bit doctrinally impure as the Nigerian Army is structured like the British. 82 would be better as a light infantry division with a mechanised brigade.
    81 Amphibious is an excellent idea, with 3 brigades marine infantry and an airborne brigade with its own integral marine transport unit
    I would suggest the new NE division be an Armoured division but with 2 armoured brigades and 2 armoured infantry alongside an independent airborne/ COIN brigade

    But then again all of these should be linked to a redeployment programme for the police as well, with retraining and re-equipping. All insurgencys start with criminal action and an efficient police force can stop full blown insurgencies from developing

    • beegeagle says:

      Yeah, the doctrinal aspect of it has Artillery,Engineers and Signals rallying under the banner of a Corps with units detached as combat support formations of various divisions. But they can always try new things.

      Way back in 1987, Colonel(later Major General) James Ishaya Bakut, a Regular Combatant Course 2 officer, got appointed as Military Governor of the old Benue State. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Commander of 41 Engineers Brigade in Kaduna. That brigade-type designation has since given way to today’s 41 Division Engineers, a brigade-sized formation deployed in support of 1 Mechanised Infantry Division. Each army division is supported by an Artillery Brigade so designated and a brigade-sized Div Engineers formation, so designated.

      Same way the Nigerian Army moved from the British-style designation of “Brigadier” to an American style “Brigadier General” in 1992.

      You know, I am interested in the reasons which underpin your preference for an Armoured Division in precincts characterised by what is clearly an infantryman’s engagement. The world over, asymmetric engagements have become the mainstay activity for armies.

      The NA need to be trained and deployed to fight everywhere across Nigeria. In recent times, we have seen insurgent groups active in the delta, in the Sahel/desert and in the Mandara Mts. We have always had amphibious warfare units and good experience of same dating back to the Nigerian Civil War era when tens of thousands of federal troops of 3 Marine Commando Division made opposed sea landings in Koko, Bonny, Eket, Onne, Calabar etc. Many years later,Nigerian troops also made opposed amphibious landings in Monrovia(LBR) and Lungi(SLR) as well as in the Bakassi Peninsula. The NA are also vastly experienced in littoral warfare and small boat operations.

      But we did not have and still have not deployed desert warfare and mountain warfare units. Threats have emerged from similar terrain in the past and that perhaps explains why NDA cadets who have always trained in highland warfare, now have to undergo a field training course in desert warfare before their P-O-P

  2. beegeagle says:

    *Mountain warfare – three-quarters of the entire frontier with Cameroon (about 1,350km) consists of mountain ranges all the way between Obudu and the Biu-Kerawa axis.We have the Sonkwala Mts,Gotel Mts,Alantika Mts,Mambilla Plateau, Shebshi Mts, Adamawa Highlands and Mandara Mts. Is it not surprising that over such a long distance and a porous frontier, we do not have a specialised mountain warfare unit,even as the Taliban once tried to establish a foothold in the Mandara Mts? We need not wait until some other insurgent group try to entrench themselves in any of those remote highland ranges.

    *Counterinsurgency – while they need not be trained to the full special operations curriculum, intensive training programmes on counterinsurgency operations handled by Israeli,Indian and US trainers in sequence and spanning a total period of about two months would greatly strengthen the capacity of our frontline troops. Battlefield experience garnered since 1990 in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Niger Delta and in the Bakassi Peninsula should serve to boost competence.

    *Airborne – that we need as well for the purpose of rapid deployment even as the 72 Special Forces Bn used to be 72 Air Portable Bn. Apparently, all army spec ops guys are qualified in airborne operations.

    As recently as the Abacha era, the NA had a 2 Air Mobile Bde in PHC, an Air Mobile Bn in Warri and an Air Portable Bn in Makurdi. The exigencies of the Niger Delta conflict led to the redesignation of 2 Air Mobile Bde and 20 Air Mobile Bn as amphibious/marine/littoral operations units.

    Again, nothing stops the trainers at the Depot NA from adapting to the times and incorporating two-week field training modules in desert warfare and counterinsurgency operations. Viewed against the backdrop that during the course of these past twenty years, the NA have been engaged in counterinsurgency operations in Liberia,Somalia,Sierra Leone,the Niger Delta and now, in northeastern Nigeria, it makes sense.

    • tokunboola says:

      Brilliant piece and ideas! Really I think mobility should be the key to battle effectiveness and efficiency. The Army should be concern with talent and knowledge management. Adequate training and preparation for the modern battle field as seen in Iraq ie Asymmetric warfare. The Divisions specially the 3rd Amour should be prepared for desert and mountain warfare specially the 23 Armour. The 82 should develop its core strength as a composite unit with both Jungle, Airborne and Amphibious capabilities.

  3. beegeagle says:

    * Desert Warfare: We have sand dunes and oases on the border with Niger and may need to deploy for joint ops in the deserts of Niger and Chad soon enough. See our blog post on NDA cadets and desert warfare training at Yusufari for landscape photographs.

    We are just looking at contemporary challenges as they are – counterisnurgency operations and the need to deploy and take charge of our diverse territory – a gigantic delta,jungle,savanna,mountain, sahel/desert.

  4. Chidi says:

    I would agree with mountain warfare, but that specialism should be with 82 Div in Enugu. My orbat for that division is based on the fact that most of the terrain is mountain/jungle/ urban thus infantry heavy ops.
    Also the experience of the civil war left the Eastern Region under armed, I strongly believe if all the regions are evenly matched in terms of military resources there is less temptation for one sector or another to start wahala.

    As per armoured in the NE, in as much as there is currently an insurgency that will not be the constant security threat. The biggest security threat is the long porous borders, which will be best policed by long range mechanised patrols. Also having an armoured force at that portion of the counrty gives us a well balanced force that is capable of over running Northern Cameroun or going up into Chad a good strategic asset to have if we have problems in those countrys.
    Thus 3 infantry Brigades would be best for the NE with armoured brigades in reserve. Internal security and COIN should be a police tasking so the beefing up of the NPF/ MOPOL must be part of it. Possibly the creation of an auxiliary Border Corps as well, lightly armed locals used as listening posts. But the key thing is we cannot over focus on one element of the operational spectrum, 10-15 years ago COIN was not a priority in any Army much less the NA. We do not want to be in the situation of the British Army which is 100% geared towards COIN now, thus you have young soldiers who have never done conventional ops and question certain basics because its not relevant to Afghanistan. BH/ MEND are not (yet) existential threats, thus our posture shouldn’t be realigned specifically for them

    • beegeagle says:

      Nice riposte, Chidi and well done as always, Doziex.

      Let me dwell briefly on three points which you have raised in the post above;

      * Possibly the creation of an auxiliary Border Corps as well, lightly armed locals used as listening posts.

      We have said previously that we might have to raise a dedicated paramilitary border security force along similar lines as suffices in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Those would ideally be drawn from the AOR and be trained for about half of the duration expected of NA troops (four months of rigorous military training), with training cycles of two-weeks centred on basic appreciation of Customs and Immigration operations and one-month’s training in intelligence gathering.
      Post-enlistment training should consist of training which is terrain-specific. It is clear, for instance, that the Borno Command would have to be trained in both desert and marine operations.
      While the NCOs of such a force would ideally be ranked in a manner which replicates the Army standard, the officer corps should be characterised by a four-rung rank structure for commissioned officers viz;

      Squad Lieutenant
      Squadron Captain
      Guard Commander

      Organisation could take the form of Squads (platoons) and Squadrons (companies)commanded by career guardsmen and Guard Commands which would be statewide units of 1,000 – 1,500 men under the command of an Army Colonel or equivalent or a Guard Commander.

      Zonal Commands comprising three state Guard Commands could be placed under the Command of a Brigadier General or equivalent and the National Commandant of the Frontier Corps should be a Major General or equivalent.

      All border states should have a Border Guard Command and the said paramilitary force should be under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry in peacetime and under the Ministry of Defence in wartime.

      * The biggest security threat is the long porous borders, which will be best policed by long range mechanised patrols.

      We have stated the need for the massive acquisition of MRAPs. Nigeria needs to go to the arms market with a big heart and stop buying like paupers. It is hard to understand how countries with GDPs which rank with those of Nigerian states such as Lagos or Rivers are going out there with shopping lists in the hundreds of millions of dollars while we sit cross-legged and tight-fisted in Nigeria, playing the fiddle of make-believe development which is not going to happen for as long as Nigeria continues to burn.

      At a time like this, the need for those cannot be overstated. With the glut of surplus Casspir mine-resistant APCs available in South Africa as we write, nothing stops the FG from acquiring 100 units of Casspir APCs for JSTF MOPOL contingents who are now lined up for deployment to as many as nine states in furtherance of the JSTF’s alloted tasks.

      We should look at acquiring about 100 units of Panhard VBLs(long wheel base variant), 200 units of GILA mine-resistant APCs and 350 Otokar Cobra mine-resistant APCs.

      To immediately bridge any gaps during the time necessary for deliveries to be effected, 100 units of Casspir APCs should be acquired for specifically for JSTF operations. Even the Indians and Americans operate Casspir APCs whose value as far as MRAPs go cannot be overstated.

      * As per armoured in the NE, in as much as there is currently an insurgency that will not be the constant security threat.

      Yes, we had that in mind. The fact is that the ORBAT can also be reviewed at a later date. We have seen 3 Mechanised Brigade transformed into 3 Motorised Brigade, 2 Air Mobile Brigade has since become 2 Amphibious Brigade, 9 Mechanised Brigade has been redesignated as 9 Motorised Brigade while 15 Mechanised Brigade has been replaced by 23 Armoured Brigade.

      IF we retain a full armoured division in the adjacent AOR to the infantry division which we have proposed above, they can always swap AORs as new realities emerge. Whereas the last battles involving armoured fleets took place during altercations between 3 Armoured Division elements and Chadian adversaries during the 1980s, that volatile flank is faced with security threats which can best be addressed through classic counterinsurgency operations by specially adapted troops (COIN-biased and desert warfare specialists).

      Just take a look at the neighbourhood. BH insurgents on the prowl in the adjacent and desertified Diffa Prefecture of Niger, a seemingly unending insurgency in Chad which has sufficed since 1978 and a latent state of insecurity in northern Cameroon where banditry and arms trafficking into Nigeria suffice.

      Remember, the infantry division which we proposed featured a heavy infusion of strong armoured and artillery units who would have enough to throw at the adversary and hold the frontline until armoured and artillery brigades from today’s 3 Armoured Division operating in the AOR directly behind the proposed infantry division arrive at the front.

      Viewed against the backdrop of that fact that we would sooner experience a crossborder invasion by stealthy and tenacious guerrillas in the far Northeast than a conventional armoured engagement with the armies of Cameroon or Chad, I still find it difficult to believe that anything other than a crack infantry division that features a heavy infusion of armour and artillery would serve our national interest better in the short to medium term.

      By the way, gentlemen, did you read the report which stated that the C-in-C has approved a scaling up of manpower for all military and paramilitary services?

      The deployment of that new division is a done deal methinks.

    • tokunboola says:

      I think the 82 should have a mobile Ranger classified Brigade. least to forget the capacity of the air mobile to provide air support to these ranger unit and light infantry element

  5. doziex says:

    Gentlemen, great ideas, great reading. How I wish some one will inform our military establishment of this blog. There is no need for NA to keep issues such as our orbat and planned acquistions a secret. This is info is good for the moral of the populus and sends a message that nigeria is serious about it’s stability. Now they can focus on muzzling them politcians as exposed by wikileaks. Always running to the US embassy to spill their guts. (lol)
    First of, the NA needs a vision or a purpose. Is it thankless peace keeping tasks ?, internal security ? or the domination of the air, land and sea spaces of west africa and beyond. If it’s the 3rd choice, are we willing to make the required investment ?. Many nigerians argue,” who cares about security issues when we have poor schools,hospitals etc etc”. while they have a point, the current climate shows that the best govt plans mean nothing if life and property is not secure.
    Futhermore, the next scramble for africa is upon us, as rich asian, european and north american countries covert africa’s arable lands for food production, minerals,oil and fisheries. They are buying up land in poor african countries as a safe haven for there wealth. And if history is anything to go by, they will not walk away from these investments with out a fight.
    So this is the wrong time for Nigeria to be militarily weak and devoid of purpose. A good mix of coinsurgency and heavy manouver divisions as already stated would be desirable. Long range strike, anti-ship and ground attack aircraft should be the order of the day. S-300 air defense missiles, FACs, submarines etc. would also be necessary to project enough strength to keep all these new “investors” honest.

  6. Chidi says:

    As much as I would love a well equipped, professional army that will not stop China, the US, France or even South Africa if they were inclined. what we need is a legitimate, accountable government. Botswana is a tiny resource rich country, Bakassi Boys and MEND would over run it in 2 seconds if they were inclined, no one bothers them. Why?

  7. doziex says:

    My brother don’t be too trusting of these countries in question. If the economies of asian and western countries come under treat by say Iran closing the strait of hormuz to oil traffic. The appetite for the vast oil fields in the gulf of guinea will increase exponentially. Moreover, being militarily weak makes an inviting target. All international norms and niceties would go out the window. The US and others will simply claim access to the oil on behalf of sao tome, equatorial guinea, or cameroun. The chinese are rebuilding angola today in return for future unrestricted access to it’s mines and oil. What do you think will happen if a future more democratic angolan govt demands a more equitable deal?
    Botswana has diamonds, but they also have more powerful western friends that would keep other african states at bay. A better illustration of this phenomenom ” within Africa” took place in the DRC when 6 of it’s neighbours invaded under different pretexts to plunder it’s mineral deposits. It is also the reason why all western interests ganged up against nigeria in the bakassi penninsula issue. To diversify claims to the regions oil.
    Even if the powerful countries don’t resort to a survival of the fittest mind set when under duress, nigeria’s correct line of thinking should be to be prepared just in case. Strength draws negociation. weakness invites manipulation.

  8. beegeagle says:

    Jimmy Hollyee, do you consider this to be in sync with the big idea?

  9. WOW !!!! I am stunned beyoned belief. This is truly awesome. now I really have to think deep Let me call it the 5TH for discussion’s sake ( I should not try to parrot you) should be COIN BASED/ SPEED BASED hence Artillery regiment/and APC for speed OF engagement to AOR. My contention of argument against heavy armour is they are slow to deploy and depending on the MOUNTAINOUS topography can in some situations be absolutely useless.Here is why i perfer artillery : 4 ARTILLERY pieces can cover several square miles in a North/ South/ East/ West coordinate system in a matter of minutes . Thank you for sharing this forum with me . I am going to have to up my game from now on!:)

  10. (@lordfej) says:

    i think what we also need is air superiority. Chikena

  11. beegeagle says:

    Elsewhere, BEEGEAGLE WROTE


    Let DHQ be rejigged into four branch chieftaincies and eighteen directorates. Other triservice slots would push the number of possible Branch Chief/DG slots and equivalent senior posts to about 30 .

    For instance, a Chieftaincy of Training, Operations at DHQ would have under the CTOP, four Directors General

    – Joint Operations
    – Peace Support Ops
    – Training
    – CTCOIN/IS Ops

    By the same token, the Chieftaincy of Defence Intelligence, would have under the CDI

    – DCDI
    – DG, DIA
    – Foreign Liaison
    – Homeland Security
    – Inter-service Coordination

    The Chieftaincy of Administration, Standards and Evaluation would have directorates of

    – General Administration
    – Finance
    – Standards and Evaluation
    – Civil-Military Relations

    Finally, the Chieftaincy of Logistics,Communications and Engineering would have Directorates General of

    – Supply and Transport
    – Ordnance
    – Communications
    – Procurement
    – Engineering

    Next PROMOTE all four DHQ Branch Chiefs to 3-star Generalship. There is NOTHING untoward about that. Way back in 1990, a comparatively junior Major General Salihu Ibrahim was appointed Chief of Army Staff over and above a cascade of his seniors. It was at this time that such seniors and even some of his mates were forced to take the option of retirement.

    Some of the said seniors included Major Generals YY Kure, Duro Ajayi, Lai Yusuff, Sunny Ifere, Ike Nwachukwu, Ahmadu Rimi, Sani Sami, Bagudu Mamman, Gado Nasko while some of his mates who exited the Army at this time were Mamman Kontagora and Rabiu Aliyu.

    Those who survived the chop became DHQ branch chiefs and triservice postholders while his peers joined Lt.General Salihu Ibrahim at AHQ to serve as branch chiefs under him.But that is not the news.

    In February 1992, those officers who were senior to the COAS such as Major Generals Garba Duba and Jeremiah Useni, Mohammed Haladu, DHQ-level appointment holders, were elevated to the rank of Lt General. Later in December 1992, his coursemates, also DHQ-level appointment holders, Major Generals Oladipo Diya, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and Joshua Dogonyaro were similarly elevated to the rank of Lt General.

    Also at DHQ-level but this time from the Navy, Rear Admiral Tunde Elegbede and Chijioke Kaja were promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral in 1992.

    Therefore and at DHQ level, we had six Lt Generals and two Vice Admirals, all of whom were mates of or senior to the Chief of Army Staff. They served under General Mohammed Sani Abacha who was the Chief of Defence Staff at the time. Of these DHQ branch chiefs, Garba Duba and JT Useni were Abacha’s mates while the others were his juniors..even as Abacha was already a full General and CDS and was thus preeminent. So everything worked well and everyone was happy

    Now, the big idea behind this proposed structure is to keep as many competent hands engaged within the services for as long as possible.

    From the perspective of motivation and career progression, let the officers know that unlike the current artificial ceiling that is the rank of Major General, they can rise to three-star Generalship without having to be a service chief first, provided they are deemed to have made the cut for that lofty perch. It makes everyone work harder, knowing that if they do not get to be service chief, they can progress into the DHQ structure, end up as a branch chief and attain 3-star generalship.

    So let it be standard practice heretofore, that the proposed branch chiefs(four) as listed above be 3-star General portfolios. Let a dutiful Corps Commander realise that after serving as Commander, NA/NN/NAF Corps of Engineers, NA Corps of Supply and Transport or NA Corps of Signals on the rank of Major General or equivalent, he can be posted to DHQ as Director General, Engineering Services/Communications/S T and with some good output, rise to become Chief of Defence Logistics, Communications and Engineering on the rank of Lt General or equivalent

    The spinoff is which shall accrue to the nation and the military is loyalty, dedication to duty and motivation permeating the topmost echelons of 2-star Generals. As is, we are forcing them into retirement a bit too early.

    Again, let us raise the retirement age to 58 years. Knock off the option of years of service. After all, we seek experienced officers, so what is the length of service bit all about?

    We should consider this proposal VERY CAREFULLY. The gains for Nigeria would be immense. It is the case that Angola have more than fifteen Lt Generals in service. Smaller armies, without prejudice to their worthy officers, such as those of Kenya have three Lt Generals in service, Rwanda have three or four Lt Generals while the Ugandans have six or seven serving Lt Generals as I speak, in an army about half the size of ours.

    What then is the big idea behind the artificial stagnation of officers, bar the COAS, who are due for promotion to the next rank of Lt General in Nigeria..even with 36-37 years of dedicated service tucked under their belts?

    We need to think very early about this. Better medicare, training and contemporary habits ensure that senior officers stay younger for longer. We have too many retired generals with over 33 years of rich experience who are under 60 dotted all over our landscape. Why?

    Our rate of attrition is too, too high. We need to lock it in…NOW.


  12. beegeagle says:



    You are welcome to the board, Oga Menatti. Competence or background not in doubt. I should be glad to know what you think is the best way that the NA and the Armed Forces as a whole can reduce the rate of attrition and keep seasoned officers in the loop for much longer. I STILL believe that for a minimum, they should clear up the congestion at the top which is solely attributable to the artificial stagnation of officers on the rank of Major General. That is why there are Major Generals who have been on the rank for one year while others have been at it for six years!

    Our best bet at this time is to create a minimum of FIVE mega-branches at DHQ level to be manned by three-star generals(Army 3: Navy 1: Airforce 1). That way, we can have five DHQ branch chiefs as follows:

    Chief of Training+Operations
    Chief of Administration
    Chief of Defence Intelligence
    Chief of Comms. and Engr Svcs
    Chief of Logistics

    The retirement age should be reviewed upwards to 58 or 59 years as well. At once, the pressure to ease out officers with a view to creating room for career advancement would have been removed by virtue of the fact that each of these five branch chiefs (3-star generals) would have between four and six Major Generals serving under them as Directors of various various divisions under the DHQ branches- for an average of 30 senior Major Generals who would have otherwise been pushed out of service because there are no slots for them at the level of their parent services.

    For instance, a Chief of Training and Operations would probably have below him Directors reponsible for

    – Joint Ops and Coordination
    – Peace Support Operations
    – Counterinsurgency+Counterterrorism
    – Research and Development
    – Joint Training + Standardization
    – Field Exercises and Simulation

    The Chief of Administration would similarly have the following divisional directors under his Branch

    – Finance
    – General Services (Medical, Legal, Education, Records, ICT)
    – Policy and Plans
    – Manning and Evaluation
    – Procurement
    – Staff Duties

    Perhaps we have established a pattern. If that had been the case, a RC 18 officer such as Major General Moses Obi can return from South Sudan and expect to be elevated to the rank of Lt.General and deployed to DHQ as say, CTOP. A RC 19 officer such as JA Okunbor would also have been elevated to the rank of Lt General and deployed as a DHQ Branch Chief.

    We need to keep our most seasoned hands for about three years longer but without causing stagnation among the ranks of their subordinates. The way to do that is to elevate the five most senior two-star generals to the three-star rank and thereby create the right conditions for a further 25-30 senior two-star generals to remain in service and in the knowledge that they still have a chance of gaining one final promotion to three-star generalship even without getting to become service chiefs.

    That is the meaning of MOTIVATION.


  13. beegeagle says:


    One way around that situation could be to fasttrack the formation of the said new COIN-biased division, so that all six
    divisions could be grouped into TWO Field Army Corps of three divisions each, which would create two Field Army Corps with a Lt.General at the helm of each, with his Chief of Staff, Principal Staff Officers and Line Superintendents – all of whom would be expected to be two-star generals.

    Then, the retirement age for officers can
    then be reviewed upwards to 58 years, in the first instance.

    At the moment, the convention is for the
    ONLY three-star General in the Army to be the incumbent Chief of Army Staff. That should not be the case in a 100,000-man Army whereas some African armies with half as many troops have four serving four-star Generals and seven three-star Generals. Do not even ask which Army that is. By the way, how many Lt Generals do they have in nearby Rwanda – five, six or seven?

    Anyway, the arrangement which we have suggested above would see the Chief of Army Staff becoming a four-star General while the GOCs of Field Army Corps and GOCs of divisions would be three-star and two-star generals. The branch chiefs, subject to the merger of branches to allow for a maximum of three mega- branches(eg Training and Operations, Admin and Logistics etc) would be three-star generals.

    The Chief of Defence Staff, also a four-
    star general would be the most senior
    officer of the Nigerian Armed Forces and
    at DHQ level, he shall also be assited by
    three branch chiefs of mega-branches as
    itemised above, who shall all be three- star generals – one each from the Army,
    Navy and Air Force.

    That way, we shall have six Lt Generals in the Army – two serving as GOC Field Corps and four as branch chiefs at AHQ/DHQ.

    ALTERNATIVELY, we could retain the
    Army Structure as is and instead have six
    three-star generals at DHQ level manning six branches – Admin, Training and Operations, Standards and Evaluation, Communications, Defence Intelligence and Logistics. Each of these six branches would be further split up into directorates under two-star generals.

    This kind of arrangement sufficed in
    1992-93 at DHQ level when three-star
    generals such as Jeremiah Useni, Garba
    Duba,Mohammed Haladu, Joshua
    Dogonyaro, Oladipo Diya, Aliyu Gusau,
    Chijioke Kaja and Babatunde Elegbede all held triservice appointments at DHQ,
    triservice training establishments or as
    NSA as was the case with Gusau.

    That way, the rate of attrition is
    drastically reduced while we create
    structures for the absorption of the skills
    of highly experienced generals.


  14. beegeagle says:

    Who knows, we might now have a new structure which we predicted in a chat with some old friends about four years ago. Freeegulf and Eyimola might recall that.

    Perhaps we would see

    * 1 Field Army Corps with 1 Division, 82 Division and the new division under the command of a Lt General with HQ at Kaduna and

    * 2 Field Army Corps with 3 Division, 81 Div and 2 Division also commanded by a Lt General with HQ at Lagos.

    That would make it inevitable that the COAS becomes a four-star General. In most countries, even for UN operations, any body of men 18,000-strong is commanded by a Lt General. Nigeria is the only country I know of with 100,000+ troops and counting where the COAS is a Lt General. And the sole Lieutenant General in the Nigerian Army as I write this is the COAS – only one Lt General for a 100,000+ army? Promote the highly deserving COAS to 4-star General and elevate a few of his most senior and deserving subordinates to Lt Generals.

    Anyway, what would be the designation of such commanders of possible Field Army Corps – ‘GOC-in-Chief’ ala the Indian Army or ‘Commanding General’ ?

    Time will tell.

  15. beegeagle says:

    I am thinking who the GOC of the new division might be and I see that the Course intake most represented at the level of branch chiefs, GOCs and Corp Commanders is the Regular Course 25 – KTJ Minimah, MD Abubakar, J0 Nwaogbo, Ebi Awala, Ugo Buzugbe et al, come to mind.

    A new division might takeoff on the back of a senior officer who has had a stint in high command in that AOR. Of all those mentioned above, the very bright Buzugbe alone has not commanded a division. I understand that he topped his class back at NDA and was also the youngest of them all, having enlisted in December 1978 and attained the rank of Major General in December 2010 at a very impressive and unlikely 48 years of age or thereabouts.

    Well, General Buzugbe has been Colonel-General Staff of 3 Armoured Division, Commander 23 Armoured Brigade and is the incumbent Military Secretary (Army). It is quite possible that he might get the nod to be the pioneer GOC. The only possible grey area there but but no means an inviolable one is the fact that he is an upstanding Armoured Corps officer and the said new division is almost certain to be an infantry division with a strong counterinsurgency/mountain/desert warfare bias.

    If the NA decide to go for an infantry officer, it could fall to another thoroughbred and model officer, General Onwuamaegbu, who is very senior on the perking order (RC 21, enrolled December 1976) and was neck-deep involved in the planning of the very successful ECOMIL intervention in Liberia in 2003 whilst he was a Colonel. He was effectively the 2ic behind Brigadier General (later Major General) Festus Okonkwo, the ECOMIL Force Commander.

    One of the iconic images of the ECOMIL intervention shows euphoric Liberians carrying a bemused Onwuamaegbu shoulder-high..an eloquent testimony to heroism.

    Other senior infantry officers who could get the nod include Major General Ken Osuji who has been deeply involved in the massive retraining program for CTCOIN troops as immediate past Commandant of NASI and Major General Tanko Buratai, a former Commander of 2 Amphibious Brigade in the Niger Delta.

    Another one to watch, regardless of his corps orientation, would be the quietly effective Major General J.A.H Ewansiha, the fighting-fit Commander of the JSTF in the distant Northeast. He is on ground and in relevant and comparable front-end command of ‘several brigades-sized’ contingents of defence and security forces.

    We shall see how it goes. Interesting times we, Nigerians, are living through.

  16. freeegulf says:

    well said marshal beeg. great minds on this thread. COIN is the present cake, but we are not forgetting conventional scenarios either.

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