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About the National Defence College

National Defence College – History and Background

The National Defence College is the apex military training institution for the Nigerian Armed Forces, and a Centre of Excellence for peace support operations training at the strategic level in West Africa. It was established in 1992 as the highest military institution for the training of senior military officers in Nigeria.

Since the Nigerian Armed Forces had long established a strong tri-service military training heritage with the establishment of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, for cadet training, and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, for middle level staff training, it was appropriate and cost effective to continue the tradition by establishing the new strategic level military institution, the National Defence College, on a tri-service basis.


The NDC started operating from a temporary site at the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs building at the Marina, Lagos. In August, 1995, the College was moved from Lagos to Abuja (the new Federal Capital), to yet another temporary site located at Herbert Macaulay Way (North), adjacent to the prestigious International Conference Centre.The permanent site is at Piwoyi, along airport road, Abuja (FCT).

The then Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha, inaugurated the NWC Course 4 on 14 September, 1995, to herald the movement of the College to its new temporary site.
Plans are underway to relocate the College finally to its permanent site in Piwoyi, along Airport Road, Abuja (FCT).

Our Admission Policy

Admission into the programme of the College is based on selection of senior Nigerian military officers, civilians and other similar cadres from the Police, Federal Civil Service, sister African countries and the world at large.

The selection level of the participants is set high so that apart from professional skills and qualifications, they would have considerable practical experience to enable them contribute meaningfully and authoritatively to discussions. For instance, nominees from the Armed Forces are pegged at the rank of Colonel or its equivalent in the other services; in the Civil Service, a Director and above.

Hall of Fame

The Museum/Hall of Fame is an integral part of the College. It is established as a tribute to the vision of its founding fathers and a storehouse of institutional memory. It tells the history of the College in a nutshell. The NDC Museum is designed as a living monument to capture the vision and the seasons of the College, past and present.

The user-friendly plan of the Museum and Hall of Fame is arranged into 4 sections:

  1. Historical Evolution/Documentary Unit.
  2. National Defence College Plaque of Fame.
  3. Military Arts/Souvenirs.
  4. Documentation and Records.



The course curriculum is organised into 9 modules conducted in 3 terms. The curriculum is designed such that participants are faced with a variety of problems for which there are no College template solutions. Participants are encouraged to consider and interrogate their own intellectual assumptions and standpoints about the nature of war, peace, leaderships and politics. The modules include:

Module 1: Research Methodology.

Module 2: The State and Socio-Political Environment.

Module 3: Economy and Finance.

Module 4: Science and Technology.

Module 5: International Affairs and Regional Studies.

Module 6: Strategy, Statecraft and National Security.

Module 7: War Study Package.

Module 8: Peace Support Operations.

Module 9: Higher Management of Defence.

Electives.  In addition to the core subjects covered by the study Modules, there are some electives, which provide participants with the opportunity to juxtapose their academic programme with individual interests. Generally, the elective affords participants an opportunity to exploit their intellectual horizon beyond the core curriculum and expand their professional expertise by taking advanced Studies in specific additional subjects. Each participant must offer at least one elective during the course. The approved electives are:

  1. Military History.
  2. Information and Communication Technology.

It is pertinent to state that French language which was hitherto an elective is now a compulsory subject for all non-French speaking participants, while the English language is also compulsory for participants from non-Anglophone countries.

Excellence, Courage, Patriotism and Integrity.

The National Defence College provides the highest level of formal military education.

To develop future strategic leaders sufficiently equipped with Ihe requisite knowledge and analytical skills necessary to harness the instruments of national power in a dynamic defence and security environment.

To be a global centre of excellence for educating potential strategic leaders in a dynamic world.

  • Study the socio-economic and political environment of Nigeria and its impacts on nation al security and development;
  • Understand the role of science, technology and innovation in national security and development;
  • Examine Nigeria’s foreign policy and dynamics of international relations as they impact on national interest;
  • Understand the fundamental concepts and processes of national security decision making;
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of elements of national power and its impact on Nigeria, Africa and the world at large;
  • Proffer policy recommendations on issues that border on national security and development through analyzing and assessing contemporary and future challenges;
  • Undertake advanced academic research at national strategic policy levels;
  • Forge collaboration with national, regional and international partners and similar institutions.


Excellence, Courage, Patriotism and Integrity.

The mission and philosophy of the College is pursued through lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and syndicate assignments.

The participants also write term papers and all – year round research projects on approved topics. There are also geo-strategic tours of the nation, African continent and other parts of the world.

The activities of the College are conducted in the English Language.

The Crest of the College is made up of two circles with a white background. The space within the inner circle is strapped in the National colours, green-white-green, while the name of the College is inscribed in the lower part of the white space. The Joint Services Emblem is placed centrally in the inner circle.

An eagle and a searchlight of peace are placed in succession on top of the emblem. At the base is a scroll in yellow parchment bearing the College motto: Intellect, Courage and Patriotism.

Our Philosophy

The National Defence College provides the highest level of formal military education intended to inculcate a sense of advanced military professionalism and involvement in the decision-making process under democratic political culture and structures.

In the pursuit of its professional training programmes, the College has developed sound and consistent military expertise in the study of policy options as to where, when and how the application of force could be applied for security and peaceful purposes.

To achieve this educational objective, Participants are encouraged to be imaginative and creative and to cultivate the confidence of expressing their views openly. In order to encourage this, the College applies a fine exchange of ideas through a “Rotunda Rules” policy of non-attribution in the Auditorium, where Participants, Staff and members of the Directing Staff (DS) will be able to express personal views frankly but privately to a privileged audience.

The curriculum of the College is designed to be provocative, demanding and rigorous. Participants will be faced with a variety of problems for which there is no College ‘template solution’. They will be encouraged to consider and challenge their own intellectual assumptions and standpoints about the nature of war, peace, leadership, politics, ethics and the application of force.

The College, therefore, works intensively at the conceptional level, researching and analysing issues in depth, to produce well informed, critical judgements, and to cultivate the art of intelligent questioning and conceptual thinking. Overall, the intention is that the National Defence College and its Fellows should play a part in the evolution of military thoughts to meet the new circumstances of the 21st century.

Our Environment

The Federal Capital Territory Abuja, where the College is sited, is situated at the heart of Nigeria. It is centrally located and is easily accessible from all parts of the country by road and air. The major international airports with connecting flights to Abuja are the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja also operates international flights.

The city is centrally located in the Guinea Savannah region of the Middle Belt. It has two seasons, namely, the dry and rainy seasons. The dry season is characterised by bright sunshine from October to about the end of March of each year while the rainy season starts from around mid March to October.

Abuja landscape has beautiful natural features, with lowlands and rolling hills dotted with isolated highlands and massive granite bases. The hills include the Gun range in the NORTH-WEST, the Bwari-Aso in the NORTH-EAST, the Gurfate range in the South-West of Suleja and the Idon Kasa range in the North-West of Gwagwalada. The North East has the highest peaks in the territory with many reaching over 760m above sea level.