Even with go-to-hell criticisms from several quarters around the world over its performance against Boko Haram jihadists, the Nigerian military is ranked as the 4th strongest military power in Africa. The 2016 ranking made by the widely-respected Global Firepower (GFP), puts the country at Number 44 globally.
Significantly, the assessment period terminates in 2015 and the process does not include projections, expectations or arrangements made towards 2016. This means that the Nigerian military was assessed during one of the most trying periods of its existence. It is also noteworthy that the ratings draw information form a wide spectrum of sources including the CIA.
GFP says its ranking is based largely on “each nation’s potential conventional war-making capability across land, sea and air.” Ultimately, over 50 factors are considered in making the list.
This year, 126 countries across the world were assessed with 30 selected in Africa.
Egypt is the number one military power in Africa and number 12 in the world. Algeria is number 2 in Africa and 26th in the world. Ethiopia takes number 3 on the continent and is placed 42nd globally. South Africa which follows Nigeria is ranked 5th in Africa and 4th in the world.
Egypt’s lead in Africa looks indisputable. She has 470,000 active military personnel and 800,000 reserves. Her land systems include 4,624 tanks, 13,949 armoured fighting vehicles, 889 self-propelled guns (SPGs), 2,360 towed-artillery and 1,481 multiple launch rocket systems.
The country has a total of 1,133 aircraft out of which 336 are fighters/interceptors, 427 are fixed-wing attack aircraft and 46 are attack helicopters. Her Navy has 11 frigates, 2 corvettes, 8 submarines and 174 coastal defense craft.
Egypt’s annual defense budget stands at $4,400,000,000.
Nigeria has 130,000 active frontline personnel and 32,000 active reserve personnel according to GFP. She has 148 tanks, 1,420 armoured fighting vehicles, 25 self-propelled guns, 339 towed-artillery and 30 multiple-launch rocket systems.
Her air power, according to the ratings consist of a total aircraft number of 105 out of which 10 are fighters/interceptors, 22 are fixed-wing attack aircraft and 9 are attack helicopters.
The Nigerian Navy boasts 2 frigates, 48 coastal defense craft but has no submarines.
The country’s defense budget is given as $2,330,000,000.
South Africa which follows Nigeria has 89,000 active frontline personnel and 17,000 reserves. She has 195 tanks, 2,265 armoured fighting vehicles, 43 self-propelled guns and 50 multiple-launch rocket systems.
Her air power is made up of a total of 212 aircraft with 17 fighter/interceptors, 17 fixed-wing attack aircraft and 12 attack helicopters. The South African Navy, GFP says, has 4 frigates, 3 submarines, 26 coastal defense craft and 4 mine warfare.
The country’s defense budget is put at $4,610,000,000.
Other African countries ranked include Cameroon which takes the 20th position in Africa and 106th among the 126 countries globally. The country has 15,000 active frontline personnel and 10,000 reserves.
Cameroon, according to the ranking, has 100 armored fighting vehicles but no tanks, no self-propelled guns, no towed-artillery and no multiple rocket systems.
Her air power has 17 transport aircraft, 16 trainer aircraft and 11 helicopters. There are no recorded fighters/interceptors, no fixed-wing attack aircraft and no attack helicopters. Her naval power is propelled by nine coastal defense craft.
Cameroon’s defense budget is $370,000,000.
It is to be noted however that countries such as Nigeria have only recently made procurements or taken delivery of military hardware which are bound to affect her rating positively in 2017. In 2015, the country added 2 frigates to her naval capability to bring the total number of frigates she possesses to 4.
The United States of America leads the entire world in military power followed by Russia, China and India in that order.
Further analysis of the GFP assessment would show that most of the world’s most powerful militaries are located on the Asian continent. Among the first ten, five namely Russia, China, India, Japan and Turkey are in Asia. Europe has four countries among the first ten: France (5), United Kingdom (6), Germany (7) and Italy (10).
In the Middle East, Turkey which is number 8 globally appears the most powerful followed by Egypt, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia in that order. Globally, Israel is put at number 16.
Any careful analyst looking at the computation made by GFP would note the rise of North Korea as a global military power. Although she is ranked number 25 globally, she is very strong in some very strategic areas.
For an instance, she ranks next to the USA in the possession of submarines. While America has 75, North Korea has 70. China has 68 and Russia 60. North Korea has the highest number of navy ships in the world and she is followed by China, USA, Iran, Russia and Egypt in that order.
The DPRK is number 7 globally in ownership of tanks. She has 4,200 and although that number is dwarfed by Russia’s 15,398, China’s 9, 150 and USA’s 8,845, the number of her tanks can intimidate most countries in the world.
North Korea is number 5 globally in possession of total attack aircraft. She has 572 while America with the highest number has 2,785 followed by Russia’s 1,438.
The DPRK is also ranked number 5 in the world in terms of number of active military personnel. She has 700,000 men. China with the highest number has 2,335,000. The USA is number 2 with 1,400,000 while India at number 3 has 1,325,000. Russia has 766,055 and stands at number 4.