One of the surest ways to become a member of the Nigerian armed forces is by graduating from a military school. Military schools in Nigeria admit students and have them undergo rigorous training. Upon graduation, those students automatically become higher-ranking officers than regular recruits that didn’t go through the formal military education system.
Getting admitted into military schools in Nigeria is challenging, but it becomes less of a challenge when you know your options and target the ones likely to work best for you. To help you ‘know your options,’ this article will list the most popular military schools in Nigeria by category.
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List of Military Schools in Nigeria
1. Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA)
The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) is the premier institution for training and graduating junior commissioned officers into the Nigerian Army, Navy, and Air Force. It was established as the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1964, but before then, it existed as the Royal Military Forces Training College (before independence) and the Nigerian Military Training College (after independence).
The academy has two branches: an academic branch that imparts professional Western education to budding officers in diverse faculties, including medicine and law. On the other hand, there’s a military branch that imparts the knowledge and skills required to become a commissioned military officer in the Nigerian Army.
After graduating from the NDA, a student becomes a commissioned officer and is awarded the rank of Second Lieutenant. If you’re eyeing a successful career in the Nigerian Armed Forces, NDA is your best bet; the academy has graduated some of the country’s finest soldiers, including the current Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja.
2. Nigerian Military School (NMS)
The Nigerian Military School started in 1954 as Boys’ Company, initially admitting 30 boys for military training before formally rebranding to the Nigerian Military School six years later. Unlike NDA, NMS doesn’t train you to become a professional and you also don’t attain any rank after graduation; it’s more like a substitute for secondary school.
The school claims to have graduated several students who went on to become senior officers in the Nigerian Army, but it’s essential to understand that it doesn’t train students to become soldiers.
NMS has a lot of the disciplinary structure you’d expect from a military college, including having a board chaired by senior members of the Nigerian Army. The school also instructors with a military background, including senior NCOs, Ministry of Defence Staff, and actual commissioned officers. Despite not graduating commissioned officers, it’s one of the best military schools in Nigeria.
3. Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji
Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji is part of the three major academies for armed forces training in Nigeria, alongside NDA and NDC. AFCSC focuses on training officers with an intermediate skill level, as opposed to the NDA and NDC which trains cadets and high-level officers respectively.
Being a specialized college, AFCSC runs three courses, including the Senior Course for Majors, the Staff Duties Course for Senior NCOs (non-commissioned officers), and the Junior Course for Captains and their equivalents.
The Senior Course for Majors run for one year and is exclusive for officers holding the rank of major, while the two junior courses run for 20 weeks each. While you can’t apply to AFCSC like you would NDA, it’s one of the indispensable military schools in Nigeria for soldiers dreaming to become senior military officers.
4. Air Force Military School, Jos
Air Force Military School (AFMS) is a Nigerian Air Force-owned school in Jos that provides military and academic training to students hoping to become future officers of the Nigerian Air Force. Graduands from this school don’t automatically become Air Force officers upon graduation, but they get the title of ex-Junior Airmen to honour the limited military training they acquired during their stay at the school.
The military training at AFMS isn’t as intensive as it gets at the average tertiary military schools in Nigeria like the NDA. However, it’s worlds apart from the run-of-the-mill senior secondary education the average Nigerian student gets from a senior secondary school.
Most Junior Airmen from the Air Force Military School in Jos go on to lead a career in the military. While a few end up becoming members of the Nigerian Air Force, getting admitted to the Air Force Military School doesn’t guarantee a career in the Nigerian Air Force the same way schooling at POLAC guarantee you’ll become a police officer. In any case, it’s one of the best military schools in Nigeria.
5. Nigerian Army University, Biu
The Nigerian Army University, Biu is a research-intensive degree awarded affiliated with the Nigerian Army, as its name suggests. Located in Borno State, this university doesn’t exactly train students to become officers of the Nigerian Army, but its strict disciplinarian syllabus inspires graduates to aspire for a career in the military.
The university has several faculties that offer plenty of professional programs like the average Nigerian tertiary institution. However, the school also boasts military tutors, a conducive environment, and plenty of military-inspired extracurricular activities that make it one of the most sought-after military schools in Nigeria.
Nigerian Army University, Biu prides itself as Africa’s first green university and the first Army university in the country. Apart from imparting knowledge to students, the university also conducts constant research to develop Nigeria’s defence capabilities to update the Nigerian army on the dynamics of modern warfare.
6. Nigerian Army College of Logistics and Management (NACOLM), Lagos
NACOLM started as the Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL), before the rebrand that saw it change its name to the Nigerian Army College of Logistics and Management. As the name implies, the military school is for serving members of the Nigerian Army looking to level up in planning and executing logistics support for the Nigerian Army.
The college was established in 2002, and so far, it has trained 1,926 officers, with 1,920 successfully graduated so far. Surprisingly, the college has an online portal where it offers most of the courses it teaches for free, allowing officers of the Nigerian Army to learn and level up their skills for free.
NACOLM currently offers four courses: The Senior Leadership and Staff Officer’s Course, Junior Leadership and Staff Officer’s Course, Logistics Staff Course, and Logistics Management Course. While you probably can’t attend for now, it’s one of the most essential military schools in Nigeria.
7. Nigerian Police Academy
The Nigerian Police Academy (NPA, also POLAC) is the equivalent of NDA, but for policemen. Its structure is similar to that of the NDA and it’s also a degree-awarding institution duly registered with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).
POLAC started with four faculties: The Faculty of Science, Law, Social and Management Science, and the Faculty of Humanities. Admitted officers will obtain a degree in their desired field, in addition to the necessary training required to become a Nigerian police officer.
Upon graduation from the academy, officers are inducted into the Nigerian Police Force with the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) or Inspector rank. So far, POLAC has graduated a total of 5,222 officers, ten of which are from outside the country. It’s not exactly one of the core military schools in Nigeria (as it graduates police officers), but it deserves to be on this list.
8. Nigerian Army Armour School, Bauchi
There’s very little information about the Nigerian Army Armour School in Bauchi, but if it’s modelled after the US Army Armour School, it’s likely an institution for training Nigerian Army officers in sophisticated weapons and equipment handling.
As expected, you can’t apply to the Army Armour School as a regular civilian; it’s only open to officers of the Nigerian Army experienced enough to handle weapons. While the school offers different courses and has several students, we may never know those details because they’re classified. What we do know, however, is that it’s among the best military schools in Nigeria.
9. Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji
The Nigerian Army School of Infantry in Jaji is modelled after the United States Army Infantry School, an academy dedicated to training infantrymen for the Nigerian Army. Newly enlisted soldiers typically undergo infantry training at this school before furthering their career in the Nigerian Army.
Like most other tactical military schools in Nigeria, there’s limited information about the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, but what we do know is that Nigerian Army officers train there.
10. National Defence College, Abuja
The National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja is the apex training institution for members of the Nigerian military. It completes the three premier military schools in Nigeria: NDA for cadets and junior officers, Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) for intermediate-level training and the National Defence College for training senior military officers.
The college was established in 1992 in Lagos but was relocated to Abuja in 1995. Most of the college’s operations take place at its temporary site, but it’s in a transition process to relocate to its permanent site along Airport Road in Abuja.
The National Defence College has several objectives, some of which include studying Nigeria’s security landscape and understanding the role of science and technology in improving it, collaborating with international partners for security training, and understanding the concepts of national security decision-making. In short, it’s one of the best military schools in Nigeria, and possibly, even Africa.
How can I join the military school in Nigeria?
You can join most military schools in Nigeria by writing the compulsory UTME examination, getting a high score, and praying to get shortlisted. For those not open to the public, you have to be a member of the Nigerian Army to get a chance at joining them.
Which school is best for the army in Nigeria?
The best school for aspiring members of the Nigerian Army is the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna. It’s a degree-awarding institution tasked with training Nigeria’s commissioned officers, and it only admits a few hundred students annually.
What is the cut-off mark for military school in Nigeria?
While the cut-off mark for most military schools in Nigeria is 180, you want to score something much higher than that, as into most military schools in Nigeria is merit-based. Since they only admit a few hundred people annually, not scoring significantly above the cut-off mark would significantly diminish your chances.
Despite the mildly disturbing fact that most military schools in Nigeria, and in fact, all but one on this list are situated in the Northern part of the country, we still have to admit that Nigeria has its fair share of military academies. If you’re planning to become a military officer or level up as one through the academic route, you better find your way to the North.
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