List of Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff

Share This On

The Chief of Defence Staff is the Nigerian Armed Forces’ highest-ranked military officer. The highest senior commissioned officer appointed by the President of Nigeria currently holds the position. Under Nigeria’s constitution of 1979, the job was first created.

The Chief of Defence Staff’s office is in charge of overseeing the military’s efficiency as well as Nigeria’s capacity to protect her physical integrity and territory. The highest military job in the nation is held by the Chief of Defense Staff. The Chief of Defence Staff, who reports to the President and is administratively overseen by the Ministry of Defence, issues operational instructions to the Nigerian Armed Forces, which are the army, navy, and air force.

The Chief of Defence Staff, who reports to the commander-in-chief under the administrative direction of the Honorable Minister of Defence, issues operational orders to the Nigerian Armed Forces through the service chiefs. Developing and carrying out policies and programmes that will help the Army, Navy, and Air Force achieve the maximum level of operational proficiency and national security, respectively, is the mission and responsibility of the CDS.

This is a list of the Chiefs of Defence Staff in Nigeria’s history:


He currently serves as Chief of Defence Staff after being appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 26, 2021. Gen. Irabor held numerous important military roles within the Nigerian Army throughout his career before being appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff.

He began attending the Nigerian Defense Academy in 1983 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Nigerian Army in 1986. Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ghana, and Bangladesh University of Professionals are where he received his academic training for his bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and doctorate. In addition to the National Defence College in Bangladesh and the Ghana Armed Forces Staff College, he also obtained military training at Harvard Kennedy Schools of Government and Executive Education.


Gen. Olonisakin held a number of previous positions before to taking office on July 13, 2015, including commander of the Nigerian Army Corps of Signals and commander of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) between 2013 and 2015.

He began his education in 1973 at the Nigerian Military School in Zaria and later attended the Nigerian Defense Academy before being appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army in 1981. He also graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

He held the position of Chief of Defence Staff for more than six years and four months before resigning on January 26, 2022.


Born on November 7, 1957, and killed on December 18, 2018, in an ambush murder on the Abuja-Kebbi route by gunmen. As soon as he entered in the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1977, his military career took off. In 1979, following the successful completion of his training there, he was promoted to the rank of Commissioned Pilot Officer.

He went on to do great things throughout his career, holding various high-ranking positions in the force. He had a variety of positions before to holding the Chief of Defence Staff job from April 2014 to July 2015, including Chief of Air Staff, Commander of the Presidential Fleet, and Air Officer Commanding Training Commands. In 2015, he ended his active military service.


He held the office of Chief of Defence Staff from October 5, 2012, until January 16, 2014, a span of more than a year and three months. Before rising to the top rank in the military, he had been Chief of Naval Staff.

The Nigerian Defense Academy and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, provided him with military instruction. He also received a Law degree from Ahmadu Bello University and a Masters of Arts in War Studies from King’s College, London.


After being appointed on September 8, 2010, the Chief of Defence Staff served in that capacity for two years and twenty-seven days, or until October 5, 2012. Laughlin Air Force Base in the United States of America, the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, the National Defence College in Abuja, and the Maxwell Air Force Base in the United States of America, where he studied flight safety, are where he acquired his military training.

He held various important positions throughout his career in addition to his promotion to the title of Chief of Defence Staff, which he previously held as Chief of Air Staff. The MIG 21, Bulldog, L-29, and Alpha Jet were among his specialties.


Following his elevation in 2010, he became the first air force officer from Nigeria to hold the position of air chief marshal. On August 20, 2008, President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed him Chief of Defence Staff, a position he held until September 2010.

He held a number of positions before becoming the Chief of Defence Staff, including Chief of Air Staff, Air Officer Commanding Markudi Command and Training Command Kaduna, Commander of the Nigeria Presidential Air Fleet, and Airport Commandant of Murtala Muhammed Airport, among others.


Gen. Azazi served as Chief of Defense from May 25, 2007, to August 20, 2008. Throughout his military career, he held a number of other important roles, including that of Chief of Army Staff, General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Kaduna, and National Security Adviser under President Goodluck Jonathan.

December 2012 saw his passing.


Gen. Agwai served as Chief of Defense Staff from June 1, 2006, to May 25, 2007. He also served as Force Commander for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operations in Dafur from 2003 to 2006, Chief of Army Staff from 2003 to 2006, and UN Advisor in the UN operation in Sierra Leone.

He received his education at National Defence University in the USA as well as the Armed Forces Command and Staff College. December 2009 saw his retirement.


from June 27, 2003, to June 1, 2006, he held the position of Chief of Defence Staff for a little more than three years. Over the course of his military career, he has also held the positions of adjutant, commanding officer, directing staff, and director of communications for the Nigerian Army Headquarters.


From May 29, 1999, to June 27, 2003, he held the highest military office. He was the first naval officer to lead the Nigerian military during a civilian administration, the first naval officer to hold the rank of four-star general, and the first Nigerian admiral.


Occupied the position of the Chief of Defence from June 9, 1998, until May 29, 1999.


    Occupied the office of the Chief of Defence Staff from December 21, 1997, until June 9, 1998.


    Served as Chief of Defence Staff from November 17, 1993, until December 21, 1997


    Born in 1943 and died in 1998. He occupied the post of Chief of Defence Staff from January 10, 1990, until November 1993.


Born in 1940, passed away in 2020. From January 1, 1984, to January 10, 1990, he served as the Chief of Defense Staff.


Born in 1939; passed away in 2000. From October 2, 1981, to December 31, 1983, he served as the Chief of Defence Staff.


Occupied the position of Chief of Defence Staff from April 1980 until October 2, 1981.

Share This On

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *