General Martin Agwai served as a career military officer in the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF). After a brief period of employment with the North Central State (Nigeria) Ministry of Land, Surveys and Country Planning, Survey Division, he enlisted into the NAF. He rose through the ranks of the army and was awarded the rank of Four Star General in 2006. During his military service, he was given a diplomatic appointment as the Nigerian Defence Adviser covering the Southern Africa sub-region. In 2000 he was appointed Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).
General Agwai has also held the position of Deputy Military Adviser to the UN at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DKPO) in New York. He was appointed Force Commander of the African Union Mission and the Joint Force Commander in the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Since leaving active military service, General Agwai has been participating actively in speaking engagements, workshops, conferences and mentorship programmes.