Nigerian military pledges to curb human rights abuses
The Nigerian military has pledged its readiness to prioritize conflict management and reduce civilian harm in face of the insurgency.
The Commandant National Defence College Nigeria Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir, during a workshop on the protection of civilians in a challenging environment organized by the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the National Defense College (AANDEC), said violence against civilians is an unintended consequence of conflict however he stated that civilians harm perpetrated by security forces will not be tolerated.
“One of the ways to Mitigate civilians harm is this kind of workshop training where we get the middle officers who are in the theatre of operation to sensitize them on their primary responsibility of protecting the civilians.
“We are totally against Human rights abuses by security agencies. The Armed Forces of Nigeria does not condone such irresponsible acts. Anyone that does that will not go free,” he warned.
Speaking, the Country Director, CIVIC Nigeria, Mr Benson Olugbuo, stressed that the protection of civilians in a security environment is of utmost importance due to the prevalence of conflict across the country.
He urged security agencies to keep to their duty of ensuring the protection of lives and properties while mitigating possibilities of civilian harm during security operations.
He said: “In cases of the unavoidable arm, the military should make it formal by owning up to it and ensuring that it doesn’t happen again and those who were harmed should be given the needed support to go back to the former status there were.
“If you don’t have civilians, there is no need for security agencies hence security agents should intentionally ensure they prioritize the protection of civilians,” he added.
Olugbuo noted that the reason for the workshop is to ensure that the military obeys the rules of engagement during security operations.
Speaking on Civilians arming themselves against the bandits, he reminds us that “the law permits civilians to arm themselves as long as it’s licensed but the problem is where everyone is allowed to have arm and no regulation is a recipe for disaster
“The provisions of the law should still be followed knowing too well that it is the primary responsibility of the state to protect lives and property. If the state has failed, let them tell the citizens so that they can take care of their security but as long as there’s a security agency, the issue of having guns should be regulated,” he further said.
The CIVIC boss reiterated that it is the primary responsibility of the government to protect the lives and properties of the citizens, but said in situations where they are inactive or unable to do that, they should “unregulate” what is currently regulated.
Also speaking, Air Commodore Darlington Abdullahi (rtd), President Alumni Association of the National Defence College, called on the civilians to collaborate with the military by sharing credible information and effective communication that would help fight the insurgents
He said, “The kind of harm civilians face, needs to be minimised that’s why we want to encourage the middle-level officers of the military, police and other paramilitary agencies to endeavour to protect civilians as much as possible because they look up to the security agencies for protection and if we fail them, they will begin to lose hope in the society.
“Communications between the military and the civilians need to be effective. The civil populist must learn to communicate with security agencies, especially in terms of information dissemination. The civil populists must not harm the security agencies by giving the information that is dangerous to the military in terms of revealing Military locations to the insurgents,” he concluded.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com