Sixty-third edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sat, 02 Aug 2003 22:34:43 +0200)

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Intelligence profile : Nigeria


Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, the OBASANJO administration must defuse longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, if it is to build a sound foundation for economic growth and political stability.


Country name : Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria)
Capital : Abuja; note - on 12 December 1991 the capital was officially transferred from Lagos to Abuja.
Administrative divisions : Nigeria consists of the Abuja Federal Capital Territory and 36 states
    Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara.
Military branches : Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Force
Intelligence : National Intelligence Agency (NIA)
    State Security Service (SSS)
    Federal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (FIIB)
    Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI)
    National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Intelligence agencies

* Nigerian Security Organisation - NSO

The now defunct NSO was during a period of 10 years (1976-1986) the sole intelligence agency in Nigeria. Other government bodies that were involved in national security during the same period were the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the National Police Force.

The NSO was charged with the detection and prevention of any crime against the security of the state, with the protection of classified materials, and with carrying out any other security missions assigned by the president.

When the country got a new regime in August 1985, things started to change. The new regime issued Decree Number 19 in June 1986. This decree meant the end of the NSO and the start of three new security services, namely: the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the State Security Service (SSS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

* National Intelligence Agency - NIA

The NIA was formed in June 1986 as one of the successors of the old NSO. The agency is responsible for foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence.

* State Security Service - SSS

Also formed in June 1986 was the SSS, the State Security Service, responsible for intelligence within Nigeria.

* National Police Force - NPF

Federal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau - FIIB

The National Police Force is designated as the national police with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country. The NPF is part of Nigeria's military forces. Special sections of the NPF are in charge of the protection of harbours and waterways (Port Security Police), railways and airfields.

In late 1986, the NPF was reorganized nationwide into seven new area commands and five directorates (criminal investigations, logistics, supplies, training, and operations) under deputy inspectors general.

In mid-1989 another NPF reorganization was announced. Under the new structure, a Federal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (FIIB) was to be set up as the successor to the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation; three directorates were established for operations, administration, and logistics, each headed by a deputy inspector general.

* National Drug Law Enforcement Agency - NDLEA

Nigerians participate heavily in international drug trafficking. The country is also the center for most narcotics traffic in Africa. By shifting some operations to neighboring countries and to strategic locations worldwide, Nigerian criminal organizations have succeeded in altering and expanding their smuggling networks. Nigerian money-launderers operate sophisticated global networks to repatriate the illicit proceeds of narcotics trafficking as well as from financial crimes and other criminal activities.

The Government's counter-narcotics programs have failed to materialize or have been ineffective. Efforts by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have been hindered by widespread corruption in law enforcement and by the lack of substantive government support. The NDLEA was formed by decree in January 1990 to eliminate the growing, processing, manufacturing, selling, exporting, and trafficking of hard drugs, and the decree prescribed stiffer penalties for convicted offenders.

* Directorate of Military Intelligence - DMI

One of NSO's successors is the Directorate of Military Intelligence. It is responsible for military-related intelligence outside and inside the country.

Sources: Federation of American Scientists (, CIA World Factbook

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