Chief of Defence Staff (Nigeria)

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Chief of Defence Staff
Standard of the Chief of Defence Staff
General Christopher Gwabin Musa
since 23 June 2023
Ministry of Defence
Member of
  • National Security Council
  • National Defence Council
Reports toMinister of Defence
SeatDefence Headquarters, Abuja
AppointerPresident of Nigeria
with advice and consent from Senate
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Nigeria
(45 years ago)
First holderIpoola Alani Akinrinade
WebsiteOfficial website

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional head of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the minister of defence and the president of Nigeria. The chief of the defence staff is based at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja and works alongside the Permanent Secretary of Defence. The Chief of Defence is the highest ranking officer to currently serve in the armed forces.

It is occupied by the most senior commissioned officer appointed by the President of Nigeria. The position was established for the first time under Nigeria's 1979 constitution.

The current chief of defence staff is General Christopher Musa, who succeeded General Lucky Irabor in June 2023.


The Chief of Defence Staff gives operational directives to the Nigerian Armed Forces through the service chiefs and reports to the commander-in-Chief with administrative supervision of the Honourable Minister of Defence. It is the duty and responsibility of the CDS to formulate and execute policies, programmes towards the highest attainment of National Security and operational competence of the Armed Forces namely; the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The CDS is assisted by the other Service Chiefs:

List of Chiefs of Defence Staff[edit]

The chiefs have been:[1]

No. Portrait Chief of Defence Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref.
Ipoola Alani Akinrinade
Akinrinade, Ipoola AlaniLieutenant General
Ipoola Alani Akinrinade
(born 1939)
15 April 19802 October 19811 year, 170 days Nigerian Army
Gibson Jalo
Jalo, GibsonLieutenant General
Gibson Jalo
2 October 198131 December 19832 years, 90 days Nigerian Army
Domkat Bali
Bali, DomkatGeneral
Domkat Bali
Defence Minister
1 January 1984August 19906 years, 212 days Nigerian Army
Sani Abacha
Abacha, SaniGeneral
Sani Abacha
later military ruler
August 199017 November 19933 years, 108 days Nigerian Army
Oladipo Diya
Diya, OladipoLieutenant General
Oladipo Diya
Chief of General Staff
17 November 199321 December 19974 years, 34 days Nigerian Army
Abdulsalami Abubakar
Abubakar, AbdulsalamiMajor General
Abdulsalami Abubakar
(born 1942)
later military ruler
21 December 19979 June 1998170 days Nigerian Army
Al-Amin Daggash
Daggash, Al-AminAir Marshal
Al-Amin Daggash
(born 1942)
9 June 199829 May 1999354 days Nigerian Air Force
Ibrahim Ogohi
Ogohi, IbrahimAdmiral
Ibrahim Ogohi
(born 1948)
29 May 199927 June 20034 years, 29 days Nigerian Navy
Alexander Ogomudia
Ogomudia, AlexanderGeneral
Alexander Ogomudia
(born 1949)
27 June 20031 June 20062 years, 339 days Nigerian Army
Martin Luther Agwai
Agwai, Martin LutherGeneral
Martin Luther Agwai
(born 1948)
Later Commander of the UNAMID
1 June 200625 May 2007358 days Nigerian Army
Owoye Andrew Azazi
Azazi, Owoye AndrewGeneral
Owoye Andrew Azazi
25 May 200720 August 20081 year, 87 days Nigerian Army
Paul Dike
Dike, PaulAir Chief Marshal
Paul Dike
(born 1950)
20 August 20088 September 20102 years, 19 days Nigerian Air Force
Oluseyi Petinrin
Petinrin, OluseyiAir Chief Marshal
Oluseyi Petinrin
(born 1955)
8 September 20104 October 20122 years, 26 days Nigerian Air Force
Ola Ibrahim
Ibrahim, OlaAdmiral
Ola Ibrahim
(born 1955)
4 October 201220 January 20141 year, 108 days Nigerian Navy
Alex Sabundu Badeh
Badeh, AlexAir Chief Marshal
Alex Sabundu Badeh
20 January 201421 July 20151 year, 182 days Nigerian Air Force
Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin
Olonisakin, AbayomiGeneral
Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin
(born 1961)
21 July 201529 January 20215 years, 192 days Nigerian Army
Lucky Irabor
Irabor, LuckyGeneral
Lucky Irabor
(born 1965)
29 January 202123 June 20232 years, 145 days Nigerian Army
Christopher Gwabin Musa
Musa, ChristopherGeneral
Christopher Gwabin Musa
(born 1967)
23 June 2023Incumbent291 days Nigerian Army


  1. ^ "CDS CHRONICLES". The Defence Headquarters. Retrieved 16 April 2021.

External links[edit]