List of Security Agencies in Nigeria & Their Roles

Well firstly, what is a security agency?

A security agency is a governmental organization in charge of activities that border on intelligence for the internal security of a nation. Security agencies are thought in terms of the domestic versions of foreign intelligence agencies. Security agencies typically conduct counterintelligence to thwart other countries’ foreign intelligence efforts.

This article contains information on the security agencies existent in Nigeria and their respective roles.

List of Security Agencies in Nigeria & Their Roles

  • The State Security Service

The State Security Service (SSS), otherwise known as the Department of State Services (DSS) is the basic domestic intelligence agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Guns with a 22 LR scope, chains and locks are used as basic part of the uniform of everyone at the agency.

The agency is primarily responsible for gathering information and intelligence within the country, especially for the protection of senior government officials, such as the President and Governors of the states. The State Security Service came about when the National Security Organization was dissolved in 1986. It is, therefore, one of three successor organisations to the National Security Organization (NSO). The SSS is under the control of the National Security Adviser and operates as a department within the presidency.

The roles of the State Security Service are:

  • To protect and defend the country against domestic threats
  • To uphold and enforce the criminal laws of Nigeria
  • To provide leadership and services that border on criminal justice at federal and state law-enforcement level
  • To protect Government officials such as the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors and their immediate families.
  • To protect other high ranking government officials such as past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government

The SSS has to constantly take to various roles as required or necessitated by evolving security threats in Nigeria such as counter-terrorism and counter-insurgent attacks.

  • The National Intelligence Agency (NIA)

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is a Nigerian government agency responsible for overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

The NIA is also one of the entities created after the National Security Organization (NSO) was dissolved and the country’s security services were being restructured. This was in June 1986 when decree Number 19 was issued, the fulfilment of one of the promises made in Ibrahim Babaginda’s national address as president. The other separate entity under the Office of the Co-ordinator of National Security apart from the State Security Service (SSS) and NIA is the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) responsible for military intelligence.

The role and functions of the NIA are roughly equivalent to that of its counterparts in other countries such as:

  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America
  • Secret Intelligence Service of the United Kingdom’s (known as the SIS or MI6),
  • The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
  • The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)
  • Israel’s Mossad and many more.

The staff of NIA are regarded and expected to be highly skilled, intelligent and very discreet in their operations. NIA has the foremost, albeit discreet role of protecting the nation’s pride and dignity by making sure all secret information capable of endangering Nigeria’s national interest and breaching its national security is immediately noticed by them, repossessed and dealt with.

  • The Defence Intelligence Agency(DIA)

The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is the basic military intelligence agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Defence Intelligence Agency was established in 1986 and is responsible for providing an efficient means of obtaining military intelligence for the Nigerian Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence. The functions of the DIA are:

  • To promote Nigeria’s Defence Policy
  • To enhance military cooperation with other countries
  • To protect the lives of Nigerian citizens
  • To maintain the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

The head of the DIA is the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) who is appointed by the President of the country.

  • The Nigerian Armed Forces

The Nigerian Armed Forces are the armed forces of Nigeria. The origin of the Nigerian Armed forces can be traced to the Royal West African Frontier Force which later on became Nigerian after the country’s independence in 1960.

Activities of the Nigerian Armed Forces

Since the Nigerian military was created, it has fought some wars and done the following activities in respect to its roles:

  • The Nigerian civil war in 1967-1970 in conflict with Biafra
  • Sent peacekeeping forces abroad as a backbone of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and in affiliation with the United Nations
  • Cease-fire Monitoring Group(ECOMOG) in  Sierra Leone and Liberia
  • The Nigerian Military has also seized power twice in Nigeria (1966 & 1983).

The roles of the Nigerian Military are as follows:

  • To defend the country from external aggression;
  • To maintaining the territorial integrity of Nigeria
  • To secure the borders of the country from violation on land, sea or air which includes handling of firearms like 9mm handguns and ar-15 rifles;
  • To take actions in suppressing insurrection and help other civil authorities to restore order when authorized by the President. This is subject to conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
  • To perform other functions as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly.
  • The Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Army (NA) is the land division/branch of the Nigerian armed security guard services. It is also the largest among the armed forces.

  • The Nigerian Navy

The Nigerian Navy (NN) is the sea division/branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The structure of this agency is such that the naval headquarters is located in Abuja with three operational commands with headquarters in Lagos, Calabar, and Bayelsa.

Training facilities are spread all over the country, however, the Training command’s headquarters is located in Lagos.

  • The Nigerian Air Force

The Nigerian Air force was established in January 1964 with technical assistance from West Germany. This agency started as a transport unit with an aircrew that was trained in Pakistan, Canada and Ethiopia. It was not until a number of MiG-17 was presented by the Soviet Union in 1966 that the air force was given a combat capability.