The military is an organized instrument of the government saddled with the responsibility of protecting and defending the state against internal and external attacks. They usually swing into full action during war. They are authorized to make use of deadly weapons to protect and support the state. The officers of the military are well-trained in combat and war. Also, they are well equipped in martial arts.
In Nigeria, there are three major armed forces in the military. These are – the Navy, the Army and the Air force. These armed forces took off officially after the country was granted independence in the year 1960. So far, the Nigerian military has engaged herself in just one warfare which is the Nigerian Civil war which broke out in 1967.
The three arms of the Nigerian military joined forces en mass to overcome the Biafran Army. Since then, they have been engaged only in peace keeping during insurgency within and outside the country. They fought the Niger-Delta militants, Boko haram insurgents and lately, the Fulani herdsmen. The Nigerian military have also been sent to other UN and ECOWAS nations for peace keeping such as the ECOMOG.
We shall now highlight the armed forces under the Nigerian military.
The Nigerian Army
The Nigerian Army is the branch of the Nigerian military that takes charge of war on Land. They defend the nation during civil unrest. This branch of the armed forces was ranked among the strongest military in Africa. The Army also offer support to the paramilitary forces when need arises. The Nigerian Army is headed by the Chief of Army staff who oversee the activities of the Army.
Over the years, the Nigerian Army was once rated as the best in Africa, but it’s no longer so probably because of their delay and approach in eliminating the Boko Haram insurgents and the Fulani herdsmen. The Nigerian Army has taken part in various successful peacekeeping missions most notably in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Nigerian Air force
The Nigerian airforce is the wing of the Nigerian military that is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the Nation via the Aerial route. They are the Lords of the Air. They are in charge if airlifting the Nation’s Army to and from warfare. The Air force defends the nation against Aerial attacks. They give the necessary backing and support to the Navy and the Army.
The Nigerian Airforce have been engaged in various airline defence actions. Notable is their role in the peacekeeping tours in Congo and Tanzania in 1961. There was a dire need for well-trained Airmen to Airlift the Army to the tours. This instigated the formation of the Air force. The Nigerian Airforce has since then been at the fore front of defending the Nation’s Aerial territory.
They have complemented the Army in many areas like Airlifting of troops, combat actions and delivery of specialized weapons. The first assignment undertaken by the Nigerian Airforce was the Nigerian civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970.
The Nigerian Navy is the arm of the Nigerian military that takes charge of the water warfare. They defend the Nigerian waterway territory, patrol to curb crime in the waterways and ensure safe delivery and shipping of crude oil. The Nigerian Navy first came into formation in the colonial era. They were known as the royal Navy under the marine military. They then took part in the first world war when they joined forces with Cameroon to fight the Germans.
After the independence, they were fully given the mandate to operate as the Nigerian Navy. They boosted their strengths by training and recruiting new servicemen. The Nigerian Navy complements the efforts of the Army. This was mainly evidenced during the Civil war. They ensured that the seaways were protected. They stopped the Biafran Army from importing weapons via the waterways. They took control of the major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri and Lagos.
The Nigerian Navy has over the years been involved in various security combats. They ensure that the waterways are safe for oil exploration, they fight sea Thieves and block illegal entrance and shipping in of weapons.
The military plays very vital role in Nation development. The importance of security are enormous. Insecurity and insurgency thwarts the development and growth of the nation. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration if I say that the pace of development of any community, state or nation is directly proportional to the security of lives and property. The presence of massive security encourages the populace to engage in activities that bring about development. War and insecurity reduces the pace of development.