Was El-Rufai Right About the Size of Nigerian Police Force and Armed Forces?


Micheal Babatunde

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai claimed there are less than 200,000 members of the Nigerian Armed forces and about 300,000 men of the Police.

True because his estimate of the sizes of the Nigerian Police Force and Armed Forces is closer to the exact figures. He is also talking about increasing and doubling the Police Force and Armed Forces.

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El-Rufai made this claim while answering questions on security on behalf of his principal and Presidential Candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu at the Chatham house.
Tinubu honoured an invitation to Chatham House in London where he shared his thoughts on “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: Security, economic and foreign policy imperatives.”

He also revealed his plans to rebuild the nation’s economy, security, and foreign policy when elected as president.

However, when questions were asked at the end of his presentation, he directed them to his team members and the question on security was answered by the Kaduna State governor.

El-Rufai said there are “Nigeria has about 300,000 policemen for a population of over 200 million, we need at least twice of this number.”

“Nigeria’s armed forces are not more than 200,000 in size.”

Data available on the world bank website shows that Nigeria has 223,000 men of the army in 2019. The graph shows that the army size has been on the increase without a decline since the year 2000 (over 19 years of increase). This is 23,000 more than El-Rufai’s claim.

Findings also showed that the army recruited 5000 in 2019 and according to the commander, Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army, Stephen Olabanji 21,885 persons are expected to be recruited, trained and commissioned in 2022.

However, only 5800 have been recruited so far in 2022. Though 148 military men were reported dead in 2019, the number of departures/ deaths has had no significant impact on the strength of the Nigerian army.

Former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris in 2018 said there are about 334, 000 policemen in the country.

The IGP announced that 9,989 recruits passed out in 2022 under the 2020 recruitment exercise. He added that another 10,000 will be recruited under the 2021 programme.

El-Rufai’s statistics is true because it can be infered from statement that he was only giving an estimated figure of the Nigerian Police Force and Armed Forces and not their exact figures. He is also talking about increasing and doubling the Police Force and Armed Forces.

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