Once in a while the Nigerian military tends to show its military hardware during parade inna bid to show the country it is well defended. Lets have a look at Nigeria’s large, but relatively modest military arsenal.
Vickers Mk.3 Eagle Tank
The Vickers Mk.3 Eagle Tank was acquired by the army in the eighties. There are currently 100 Vickers M.k3 Eagle Main Battle Tanks in service with the Nigerian army.
Locally Fabricated Infantry Patrol Vehicle.
This Nigerian made IPV is the only light tactical wheeled vehicle of its class that is purpose-built for the military, with its design and construction based on actual field recommendations and evaluation input from actual military operations. The vehicle is fitted with Dushka machine gun as well as a GPM (General purpose machine gun).
Panhard M3 Armoured Personnel Carrier.
The Pangard M3 is armed with a turret mounted machine gun. There are smaller hatches at the side roof lines, allowing occupants to engage outside parties with their personal small arms. Amour protection is between 8mm and 12mm at the various facings.
Otokar Cobra Amoured Personnel Carrier.
This versatile Infantry Mobility Vehicle can be adapted for various roles and mission requirements. Its being used by all units of the Nigerian army in the battle against Boko Haram in the northeast. The Cobra provides protection against 7.62-mm ball rounds and artillery shell splinters. Add-on armor can be fitted to provide protection against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle also provides a certain degree of protection against land mines and side explosives.
Panhard ERC 90 Sagei AFV
The ERC 90 is used by Nigerian army reconnaissance units on the battlefield. The ERC-90 withstands hits only from small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle has a V-shaped hull, which provides some degree of protection against mine blasts and improvised explosive devices. The ERC-90 was fitted with NBC protection system. It’s fitted with the GIAT TS 90 turret, mounting an F4 90 mm gun. Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.
Palmaria 155 mm Self Propelled Howitzer.
A Palmaria 155mm SPH on display at a military parade ground. A total of 26 Palnaria SPH is in service with the Nigerian army. The VCA is completed with 155-mm / L39 howitzer and fitted with automatic projectile loading system. The Palmaria can lob shells up to 24 kilometres.
FH-77 Bofors 155mm Self Propelled Artillery.
The Haubits FH77 is the first modern 155mm artillery guns to be inducted into the Nigerian army since the 1980s. With a strike range from 24 to 40-km depending on the kind of ammunition, the 155 mm gun adds a lethal dimension to Nigeria’s already lethal artillery force. The only component of the army that’s has not deteriorated.
The RM-70 is fitted with 40 launching tubes for 122 mm rockets. A standard HE-FRAG rocket is 2.87 m long and weights 66 kg. Maximum range of fire is 20.5 km. The RM-70 carries 40 reload rockets and is fitted with unusual reloading device. Reloading takes less than two minutes, giving it an excellent shoot and scoot capability.
The Roland is a short range point defence anti aircraft missile system. The Nigerian army uses it in tandem with amoured and mechanized ground units. It ensures the overall defense of a zone of 100 km2 vis-a-vis a threat consisted by a patrol of 4 planes or 2 patrols acting at more than 20 second intervals.
FV101 Scorpion Light Tank.
The FV10 light tank is used mostly in the Reconnaisance role by the Nigerian army. All-round protection is against 7.62 mm rounds and artillery shell splinters. This tank relies on its speed in order to avoid being hit. The FV101 light tank can be fitted with floatation kit, which makes this vehicle amphibious. On water it is propelled by its tracks.
In 2014 the Nigerian army took delivery of 77 T-72M Tanks from the Czech Republic. The Nigerian army is the only army in West Africa that fields the T-72 MBT. A second generation tank, it features a 125 mm smoothbore gun.
The Bigfoot MRAP is designed to provide secured transportation for combat personnel and materials, specially under the threat of anti-tank mines. Features include smoke grenade launchers, passive amour protection and an exhaust pipe protection system to limit IR signature.
Steyr 4K 4FA
The Steyr 4K 4FA is a caterpillar tracked amoured personnel carrier. Their light weight allow them to move quickly across the battlefield. The Nigerian army operates 300 of this Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Panhard BVL APC
This 4×4 all-terrain vehicle is fully amphibious and can swim at 5.4 km/h. It has being used extensively by the Nigerian army in the northeast theatre.
ATR-42 Maritime Patrol Plane.
The ATR 72 MP is a maritime surveillance aircraft used extensively in the northeast. Features include three sensors including an electro-optical turret FLIR system Star Safire HD, SELEX Galileo airborne tactical observation and surveillance (ATOS) mission system, search radar and an ESM (Electronic Support Measures) sensors and a bubble window.
MI-24 Hind Helicopter Gunship.
The newly created Nigerian Army Aviation Corp operates the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. The helicopter has been used extensively in the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast. The MI-24 is armed with anti-tank missile systems for the engagement of moving armoured targets, weapon emplacements and slow-moving air targets.
From these imagery its pretty obvious that the elements that constitute Nigeria’s military power are a near obsolete asset. Its rate of obsolescence will vary depending on the opponent that it is pitted against — faster for a near-power rival, slower against a less militarily sophisticated opponent. But it is a wasting asset nonetheless; only the speed of its obsolescence is in question. Nigeria has the economy wherewithal to build a 21st century fighting force.
There should be no compromise when it comes to protecting the lives of the Nigerian people. The Ebola scare in 2013 propelled the government into action. A state of emergency was declared, American CDC officials were kicked out of the country and a war room was created to tackle the spread. An initial $100 million was released by the government to the nation’s top health institutions, millions were spent on sensitization adds, celebrities were contracted for the sensitization and orientation of the populace.
Within a month the Ebola virus was contained “independently”. The world could hardly believe this spectacle. It was unprecedented. The fear of death was all it took to force the government to take proactive measures.
The same sense of urgency should be placed on the Nigerian armed forces. As history has shown before, a militarily powerful Nigeria benefits the continent. Africa will not rise to its true potential until Nigeria gets back on its feet. One out of every five Africans are Nigerians. With the largest population and economy, a Nigeria fated for eventual decline will be a far more dangerous the continent than one that can maintain its status as a continental power that rivals the colonialists.
The destruction of Libya happened when Gadafi gave up his deterrent, his nuclear and chemical weapons program. A Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and Egyptian military alliance and the willingness to use force will give Africa a credible deterrent.