Police Ranks In Nigeria: The FULL List & Explanations

Police Ranks In Nigeria

You must be reading this my article on police ranks in Nigeria because you wish to join the police or just out of curiosity. For whichever reason(s) you want in-depth information about Nigerian police ranks, I’ve got you covered.

I bet you know the Nigeria Police Force is the principal law enforcement agency in the country but did you know that it has a staff strength of about 371,800?

Yes, there are currently plans to add 280,000 new recruits to the existing 370,000 and make it 650,000.

The NPF is a very large organization consisting of 36 State commands grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs. The current head of the NPF is IGP Adamu Muhammed.

Before we look at the police ranks in Nigeria, let’s me give you a brief background.

The Nigeria Police Force History

Nigeria Police Force was first established in 1820 and the very first person to have the highest rank in all the police is commissioner general colonel KK. What does the KK mean? I really have no idea. That’s just how his name is written all over the internet.

In 1879 a 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa Constabulary was formed and In 1896 the Lagos Police was established.

A similar force, the Niger Coast Constabulary, was formed in Calabar in 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate.

And in the north, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888 with headquarters.

When the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary became the Northern Nigeria Police, and part of the Niger Coast Constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police.

During the colonial period, most police were associated with native authorities.

But in the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalised and then nationalized.

Plans were announced in mid-1980 to expand the force to 200,000.

By 1983, according to the federal budget, the strength of the NPF was almost 152,000, but other sources estimated it to be between 20,000 and 80,000.

Reportedly, there were more than 1,300 police stations in Nigeria.

You won’t Police officers were not usually armed in those days but were issued weapons when required for specific missions or circumstances.

They were often deployed nationwide, but in 1989 Babangida announced that a larger number of officers would be posted to their native areas to facilitate police-community relations.

The NPF performed conventional police functions and was responsible for internal security generally; for supporting the prison, immigration, and customs services; and for performing military duties within or outside Nigeria as directed.

But what are the duties of these officers?

Nigerian Police Force & Their Responsibilities

The duties of police officers are more than to pull people over, they perform multiple duties, therefore their work is really tough because they must be on duty round the clock, though police force works in shifts.

Here are some duties of Police officers:

The Nigeria Police, whose motto is “Police is your friend”, have been empowered according to the law to carry out some specific functions. These functions include the under listed:

1. The power to arrest offenders

There are certain crime and offences that are not within the police jurisdiction. Example of such include crimes that are related to a traffic offence. There are other arms of security such as the Road Safety Officials, Vehicle Inspection Officers and traffic wardens responsible for dealing with such offences.

2. Preventing crime occurrences

They work hand-in-hand with other arms of security such as the military in cases of National or territorial threat. In such cases, they are part of what is referred to as a Joint Task Force formed to prevent a possible breakdown of law and order.

3. Protecting the lives and the properties of the Nigerian citizens

They carry out routine patrols of areas during the day and at night with the principal aim of making sure that the environment is safe and people are secure.

4. Detection of crime or a person who committed the crime

The department of the Nigerian Police Force responsible for detecting criminal activities is known as the Criminal Investigation Department. Police officers in this department sometimes dress in mufti to blend in with the public so as to be undetected while they carry out their assignment.

5. Maintaining law and order in society

Every one of the duties of the police force is all to accomplish this primary goal. When a law is broken, they have the responsibility to arrest the offender for law and order to be maintained.

Let us now look at the Nigerian police ranks.

Police Ranks In Nigeria

The Police Ranks In Nigeria is in three structures namely (1) Authority, (2) Administrative and (3) Organizational structure.

Climbing the Nigerian police ranks is not automatic and usually requires you to pass some examination, interview or other selection processes, and it normally comes with an increase in salary. I’m sure you smiled there.

Ranks in the Nigeria Police

I’ll be listing the Ranks in the Nigeria Police in descending order, so here we go:

  1. Inspector General
  2. Deputy Inspector-General of Police
  3. Assistant Inspector-General of Police
  4. Commissioner of Police
  5. Deputy Commissioner of Police
  6. Assistant Commissioner of Police
  7. Chief Superintendent of Police
  8. Superintendent of Police
  9. Deputy Superintendent of Police
  10. Assistant Superintendent of Police
  11. Inspector of Police
  12. Sergeant Major
  13. Sergeant
  14. Corporal
  15. Constable

If you’d like to know what roles exactly the officers in these ranks play, continue reading.

The rank is divided into two categories:

  1. Commissioned officers
  2. Noncommissioned officers

Commissioned Police Officers – Senior Ranks and Roles

Inspector-General of Police

This guy is responsible for everything going on – whether rightly or wrongly – in the Police force and reports directly to Mr President.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police

This guy is the next ranked officer to the Inspector General of Police, and there may be more than one Deputy Inspector General at a time. He generally performs the role of a deputy everywhere.

Assistant Inspector –General of Police

The Assistant Inspector –General is senior to all commissioners of police but he remains the second in command to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, which makes him the third-highest ranked officer in Nigerian Police.

Commissioner of Police

There are 36 Commissioners of police in Nigeria as each State command is headed by a commissioner who accounts to the Assistant inspector general. So, they simultaneously the fourth highly placed officer in the Nigeria Police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police

As usual, the word ‘Deputy’ tells you he is going to be deputizing for the Commissioner of Police, therefore he assists and takes over the command in the absence of the state commissioner.

Assistant Commissioner of Police

Seriously I don’t see the need for this guy, there’s already a deputy commissioner of police who basically assists, why then does the police need an Assistant Commissioner of Police?! Anyway, I hear he stands in the absence of both the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Chief Superintendent of Police

He is the number seven man in the Nigeria police ranks and it is higher than the superintendent of police.

Superintendent of Police

The Superintendent of police assists the chief superintendent of police which makes him higher than the Deputy Superintendent of police.

Deputy Superintendent of Police

The Deputy Superintendent is higher than the Assistant Superintendent of Nigeria Police. And he is next to superintendent in the Nigerian police ranks.

Assistant Superintendent of Police

This is the second-lowest senior rank and it is subordinate to deputy superintendent in the Nigeria police ranks.

Inspector of Police

After you’ve undergone training of service as a commissioned officer, this is the lowest in the Nigerian police ranks.

The Non-commissioned Officers (Junior Ranks)

Sergeant Major

This is the highest rank you get as a non-commissioned officer in the Nigeria Police. You assist the administrative officer of a particular regiment.


This is the middle rank of a non-commissioned officer. It is subordinate to Sergeant Major in the Nigeria police ranks.


Corporal is one of the police ranks in Nigeria by which you can represent and perform the duties of Sergeant in his absence. This rank is also one of the lowest Nigeria police ranks, and it comes after the rank of a sergeant.


When you hear a police officer is a constable in the Nigerian Police, it simply means he is a new employee.

The Police Recruit

The Police recruit is where you start from in the Nigeria police ranks which simply means you are a trainee. It means you are undergoing training to become a police officer.

That’s all on Police Ranks In Nigeria folks. If you are not clear about any of the ranks, just walk into any of the police stations near you and ask for details, after all, the Nigeria police is your friend…LOL!

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Written by Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at Green Post is a team of blogger experts led by Greg Afamah. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.

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