Nigeria Army - Brigades and Battalions

Unit training includes Field Training Exercise (FTX) organised at the battalion, company, platoon and section levels. Unit training at the company level and below is very important because most soldiers owe loyalty to their primary groups and training can be more fruitful by exploiting these ties. In the Nigerian Army Artillery, for instance, the smallest unit that can train in a group is a battery. Effectiveness in combat can only be achieved through regular training at this basic level. It provides better training opportunity for junior commanders whose task is to train their units. Formation training, at the brigade level and above, provides the means of bringing the various units within the division together for training. Through formation training, the army consolidates the training achievements made at the various unit levels.

Combat readiness is a fundamental for combat effectiveness and for a unit to be combat ready, it should have a minimum of 75% of its holdings in personnel and equipment in a serviceable state. By the authorised TOE, a Mechanised Battalion for instance is to be equipped with 88 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) while a tank battalion should have 36 tanks. From the table of equipment, the six Mechanised Battalions of the NA (222, 65, 165, 3, 19 and 93 Mechanised battalions) should have 528 serviceable APCs in their holding. Also, the six tank battalions of the NA (221, 223, 211, 212, 232, 231 tank battalions) should have serviceable 216 tanks in their holding. As of the year 1999 there were 79 serviceable APCs as against the 528 APCs by establishment to equip the six mechanised battalions. This figure represents about 15% of the unit's requirement to be combat ready. Similarly, at that time there were 136 tanks serviceable in thesix tank battalions as against the 216 tanks by establishment. This figure equally represents about 63% of the battalions' requirement to be combat ready. Going by the equipment serviceability state in the inventory of the NA, it will be absurd to assume that the structure of the NA could be combat effective.

The NA's TOE in the year 1999 could better be described as impressive on paper, as most of the equipment in the inventory are either obsolete, unserviceable / not overhauled or in some cases the equipment are not available.

In the NA, the doctrine is the Responsive Offensive Doctrine (ROD) premised on the consideration that the Nigeria's neighbors would always be the aggressors, and if attacked, the NA would carry the battle into the enemy territory. The deployment pattern of the NA to cover Nigeria's borders facilitates the doctrine. However, the Nigerian military strategy shows that, the NA is deployed in such a manner as to fight on two fronts simultaneously. There are two fighting brigades in each of the divisions, and if two brigades are simultaneously engaged, it will result in a linear deployment without reserve.

As of the year 1999, 222 Mech Battalion had a strength of 385 as against its establishment of 764 which was under establishment. But 192 Motorised Battalion had a strength of 992 as against its establishment of 727 and 72 Para-Battalion had a strength of 900 as against 723 which were all over establishment.

Although the NA strength is estimated at 80,000 all ranks as of the year 2000, this is not absolute as no factual figure had been ascertained. Some soldiers who are dead, deserted, dismissed or went on voluntary discharge were still on the strength of NA for pay and allowances purposes. These anomalies (over establishment / under establishment) do not allow for an accurate strength of the NA to be determined.

Type of Unit Establishment Remarks
Offr Sldr Total
(Mot Bn)
29 698 727
(Mech Bn)
29 735 764
Main Battle Tank
27 422 449
Light Tank
26 358 384
(Mot Bde)
98 2210 2308 3 x Mot Bn
(Mech Bde)
95 1907 2002 1 x Mech, 1 x Mot, 1 x light TKbn
(Armd Bde)
94 1695 1789 2 x Tk Bn (MBT), 1 x Mech Bn
(Arty Bde)
122 1462 1584
Unit Formation Strength Establishment Remarks
22 Mech Bn 2 Div 385 764 under established
192 Mot Bn 2 Div 992 727 over established
177 Mot Bn 2 Div 1097 727 "
82 Mot Bn 1 Div 971 727 "
29 MotBn 1 Div 1054 727 "
72 Para Bn 82 Div 900 723 "
26 Gds Bn Gds Bde 922 727 "
2 Gds Bn Gds Bde 797 727 "
Mech Bn- Mechanised Battalion
Mot Bn-Motrised Battalion
Gds Bn/Bde. Guards Battalion / Brigade
Div - Division
Source:AHQ DOAA as at 18 December, 1

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