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Security Agencies In Nigeria & Their Functions

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Security still remains one of the most important things in many countries of the world and in Nigeria, it remains one of the most funded items in Nigeria’s budget for many years.

In a lay mans term, a security or law enforcement agency is a governmental agency that is responsible for fighting internal crimes and other threats to the general well-being of citizens in any given society/country.

To help curb the increasing rate of various type of crimes in Nigeria, the present and past governments in the country have signed various bills to enact the creation of many security agencies with the major one being the Nigerian police force (NPF).

There are so many other security agencies in Nigeria that most Nigerians don’t know of and if you’re reading this article because you were searching for a full list of all approved security agencies in Nigeria, you’ve landed on the right article as we’ll cover that in a moment.

As I said above, the most popular security agencies in Nigeria are the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian armed forces which consist of the Nigerian Navy, Air force and the Nigerian Army. You can find a complete list of these security agencies and details of their functions below.

Full List Of Security Agencies In Nigeria & Their Functions

1) The Nigerian Police Force (NPF)

The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) which was formerly known as the Nigerian Police is main law enforcement or security agency in Nigeria. The agency currently has a staff strength of about 370,000 officers according to Wikipedia.

This law enforcement agency is one of the most popular and well known agencies in Nigeria of which most citizens interact with its officers on a daily basis. The NPF is also headed by an appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) and consists of 36 State commands grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs.

Some of the numerous functions of the Nigerian police force includes

  • Prevention and detection of crime within the country
  • Apprehension of offenders.
  • Preservation and enforcement of law and order.
  • Protection of life and property of citizens
  • Performance of such military duties within and outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of the police act or any other act.

If you want to know more about the functions + other details of the Nigerian Police Force, check out our article on Nigeria Police Ranks And New Salary Structure.

2) State Security Service (SSS)

DSS - One of the security agencies in Nigeria

The State Security Service (SSS) which is popularly known as the Department of State Services (DSS) is one of the rpincpal security agencies in Nigeria responsible for the counter intelligence, as well as investigating some other types of weighty crimes in the country.

This agency is also responsible for fighting insurgency, counter-intelligence and  is also the protection of senior government officials, particularly the President who is the Commander in chief of the federation, vice president, senate president, their wives, family, state governors & their immediate families, past presidents and spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government.

The DSS is also one of three successor organizations to the now defunct National Security Organization (NSO) and is headquartered in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It operates as an agency under the presidency ans is headed by the National Security Adviser.

Major functions of the State Security Service (SSS) or DSS are listed below.

  • Protecting the country against various internal security threats
  • Enforcement of certain laws in the country
  • Taking leading roles on issues concerning criminal justice at the federal and state levels of law enforcement
  • Counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism and security surveillance duties
  • Protection of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors, their immediate families, other high ranking government officials, past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government.

3) The Nigerian Armed Forces

The Nigerian Armed Forces consists of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force. These three barnces of the Nigerian military have different functions and chains of command.

The Nigerian Army is the land branch of the Nigerian armed forces and the largest of the three. The NA currently has a staff size of around 200,000 as at 2016 and this agency is responsible for land warfare operations in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Navy is the sea branch of the Nigerian armed forces and it is responsible for the defence of the country’s territorial waters and seas. This agency consists of the Naval Headquarters in Abuja, three operational commands with headquarters in Lagos, Calabar, and Bayelsa. 

The Nigerian Air force is also one of the agencies under the Nigerian Armed Forces which is responsible for the defence of the Nigeria’s airspace. The agency currently has an estimated staff population of 10,000 and is headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Nigerian armed forces is headed by the Chief of Defence Staff who reports directly to the president who is also the commander in chief of Nation’s armed forces.

4) National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is one of the three successor organizations to the now defunct National Security Organization (NSO). It is a federal agency which is responsible for overseeing foreign intelligence and counter intelligence operations in the country.

This agency was formed on the 5th of June 1986 by Nigeria’s former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida and is one of three agencies formed from the National Security Organization (NSO) with the other two being the State Security Service (SSS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency.

The functions of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are roughly the same as those of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service (the SIS or MI6). The agency is also headed by a director general and this seat is currently occupied by Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

5) Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)

The Defence Intelligence Agency is the primary military intelligence agency of Nigeria. It was established in 1986 with the sole aim of providing an efficient method of obtaining military intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and the country’s Ministry of Defence.

This agency is headed by the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) who can be appointed or sacked by the President of Nigeria at any given time. Like the SSS, most details about this agency such as the staff population and annual budget are kept classified.

Some functions of the Defence Intelligence Agency include:

  • Obtaining military intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence
  • Promoting Nigeria’s Defence Policy
  • Enhancing military cooperation with other countries and allies
  • Protecting the lives of citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria
  • Maintaining the territorial integrity of the Nation.

6) Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is a Nigerian paramilitary and security agency which is responsible for providing measures against threat and any form of attack or disaster against the nation and its citizens. It was established in May 1967 by the Nigerian Government and statutorily empowered by lay Act No. 2 of 2003 and amended by Act 6 of 4 June 2007.

This agency was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War within the then Federal Capital Territory of Lagos with the main aim of providing sensitization and protection of civilians living in the country. It was known as Lagos Civil Defence Committee during that time.

It later transformed into the present day NSCDC in 1970 and on inception, the Corps had the task of carrying out some educational and enlightenment campaigns in and around the former Federal Capital of Lagos to sensitize members of the civil populace on enemy attacks and how to save themselves from danger as many of them didn’t know much about war and its implications on the nation.

The agency is headed by an appointed Commandant General (CG). Some of the major functions and duties of the NSCDC are outlined below.

  • Protection of the lives and properties of Nigerians in conjunction with Nigeria Police Force
  • Protection of pipelines and other national assets from vandalism.
  • Resolving internal crisis

7) Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

Just as the name implies, the Nigeria Immigration Service is paramilitary organization in Nigeria which is responsible for control of persons entering or leaving Nigeria, issuance of travel documents, including International Passport booklets, to Nigerians within and outside the shores of Nigeria and many more.

The agency was extracted from the Nigerian Police Force (Nigeria Police as at that time) in August 1958. At that time, It was referred to as the Immigration Department and headed by the Chief Federal Immigration Officer (CFIO).

The Nigeria Immigration Service was established by an Act of Parliament (Cap 171, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) on August 1, 1963 and has since then been restructured to meet up with the global standards in administering Immigration duties.

Some major functions of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) include:

  • The control of persons entering or leaving Nigeria
  • Border surveillance and patrol
  • Issuance of travel documents such as International passport booklets, to qualified Nigerians within and outside the shores of the country
  • Issuance of residence permits to foreigners in Nigeria
  • Enforcement of laws and regulations with which they are directly charged and others

Wrapping Up

The above mentioned institutions are the known and approved security agencies in Nigeria right now. Even though these agencies were created for different and sometimes specific purposes, it all boils down to safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians and also making sure insurgency and other menaces which might endanger the lives of citizens are eliminated or at worst, reduced to the barest minimum.

If you got any questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and we’ll try our best to provide answers to them in no time.
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U. Onyekachi

U. Onyekachi

Programmer, content writer and senior editor at TheNigerianInfo. Contact me - Author posts