Nigeria has the largest standing Army in Sub-Sahara Africa, and is 9% female. By this measure Nigeria has largest number of women soldiers in Africa. The Nigerian army is among an elite few in Africa where females fight alongside males in infantry units. It doesn’t end there.
The Nigerian army is also figuring out precisely how it will integrate women into military specialties previously closed to them—including airborne and artillery units.
In April 2018, in a speech during the opening of the first quarter Chief of Army Staff (COAS) conference in Abuja, the Nigerian Army Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, announced plans to form a women-only corp to develop professionally responsive female officers and soldiers, who can be deployed to provide support in all its operational engagements within and outside the country.
Positions that had been closed to women including Special Forces, infantry, and artillery would be opened up to them. This move was in recognition of the competence and capacity of female soldiers and also in line with global best practices, Buratai said.
An army all female corps will give the Nigerian army an opportunity to recognise women in order to derive the maximum benefit from their contribution to the defence and security of our nation.
There are female infantry and armor soldiers, in training now, with assignments to forward deployment to the northeast. The training includes basic infantry skills and tasks that must be completed with fewer than three errors, weapons proficiency, movement under fire, response to chemical attacks, and treating injuries from overheating to open head wounds and broken bones.
This historic achievement of women seen and treated as equals and given the same chance to contribute to the country is a testament to the professionalism of the Nigerian army.