Nigerian military hierarchy went through numerous changes in the era of 1963. Nigerian military hierarchy uses the NATO ranking codes for the comparison of ranks and to determine the seniority of officers in the military being a part of NATO countries. The NATO ranking start from OF – 10 (top most rank) and goes towards OF – 1. The Nigerian military hierarchy is explained below from the highest level to the lowest level –
- Field Marshal – The highest rank in the Nigerian military hierarchy is Field Marshal. But this term has never been used practically in Nigeria, means no Nigerian has ever attained this rank ever.
- General – The highest rank practically attained in the Nigerian military hierarchy is General. Full General is basically a four star rank with NATO ranking OF – 9.
- Lieutenant General – Lieutenant General Rank is a high commissioned officer rank sub ordinate to General rank with a NATO ranking OF – 8, a three star rank in Nigerian military hierarchy.
- Major General – A medium commissioned officer rank with a NATO ranking OF – 7 and a rank higher to Brigadier. This is a two star rank in Nigerian military hierarchy.
- Brigadier – With a NATO ranking OF – 6, this is one star rank in the Nigerian military hierarchy.
- Colonel – Rank lower to Brigadier is Colonel, referred as Colonel of regiments. A lower level commissioned officer rank and highest field officer rank with ranking OF – 5.
- Lieutenant Colonel – Deputy to Colonel is Lieutenant Colonel, a middle level field officer rank with ranking OF – 4.
- Major – The lower level in the field officer category is Major, a rank higher to Captain and lower to Lieutenant Colonel with ranking OF – 3.
- Captain – The next rank in the hierarchy is Captain, the highest rank in the tactical organization of troops with ranking OF – 2.
- First Lieutenant – First Lieutenant acts as a deputy to the Captain. Term Lieutenant refers to ‘substitute’ to immediate superior rank with ranking OF – 1.
- Second Lieutenant – Second deputy to Captain is Second Lieutenant, sub ordinate to First Lieutenant with ranking OF – 1.
- Master Warrant Officer – Next rank in the Nigerian military hierarchy is Master Warrant Officer, an expertise leader who maintains, operates, manages as well as administers the military’s equipments.
- Warrant Officer – Warrant Officer handles all the tasks of a Master Warrant Officer in his absence and acts as an assistant to the same.
- Staff Sergeant – Sub ordinate to Warrant Officer, Staff Sergeant is a senior non commissioned military officer.
- Sergeant – A junior non commissioned military officer sub ordinate to Staff Sergeant in the Nigerian military hierarchy.
- Corporal – A corporal is an officer who is in charge of a body of certain troop.
- Lance Corporal – Lance Corporal means officer of lowest rank.
Recruit / Trainee – The cadets who have just joined Nigerian military are at the lowest level of the Nigerian military hierarchy.