The soldiers, who were found guilty of mutiny, were accused of refusing to help recapture three towns that had been seized by Boko Haram in August.
A lawyer for the soldiers said the 54 would face a firing squad while five others were acquitted.
Troops have complained that they are not being given enough weapons and ammunition to fight Boko Haram.
The group has been waging an insurgency since 2009 and is seeking to create an Islamist state in north-eastern Nigeria.
More than 2,000 people have died in attacks blamed on Boko Haram so far this year and thousands more have been displaced by the fighting.
The court martial began in October and was conducted behind closed doors. Military officials were not available for comment afterwards.
Defence lawyer Femi Falana said the soldiers were all accused of “conspiring to commit mutiny against the authorities of 7 Division, Nigerian Army”.
All the soldiers had denied the charges and the sentence is subject to approval by senior officers.
In a similar case in September, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny and the attempted murder of a commanding officer in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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