The Commandant, Martin Luther Agwai International Peace Keeping Centre, Nigeria, Major Gen AJ Fagge has charged graduate’s (officers) of the Protection of Civilians in Conflict, Course 1, 2022, to ensure the implementation of the United Nation’s provisions and directive’s with regards to enforcing the protection of civilians in armed conflict against sexual exploitation and human rights violence whenever and where ever they are engaged in peace-keeping duties
Speaking at the graduation of 34 army officer’s comprising Liuetenant’s Captain’s and Major’s from the Course jointly sponsored by the British Defence Section, West Africa, which held at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre in Abuja, Major Gen Fagge said, “As you are all aware, contemporary conflicts are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigous”.
“In recent time, conflicts are often Internal Struggles over power and resources, social and economic inequality, or ethnic or religious divides. These conflicts are often asymetric and driven by non state actors against national forces.
“This is the nature of conflicts that our dear nation is currently faced with, in some parts of the country such as the North East, North West and South East. Equally indeed are other parts of the worlx such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Ukraine amongst others. As in most conflicts, civilians constitute the majority of the people impacted by the conflict either as intended or unintended targets”.
“The priority of governments and its military therefore must shift from the traditional objective of capturing and holding territories to the protection of civilians during armed conflict’s. The UN efforts in raising the discussions on responsibility to protect and develop the capacity of member states to protect civilians in unarmed conflicts underpins the need for the course.
“That is why this training was designed to give participant’s the necessary background and tools to enable you function effectively in any protection of civilian scenario. Experience has shown that protection tasks despite their their distinct nature, generate significant overlap.
“This is particularly true at the tactical level, where assessment of protection threats as well ast the planning/response to a complex protection crisis is likely to simultanously involve element’s from the protection of civilian’s, child protectio and conflict related sexual violence realm’s.
“In other to reflect these realities and prepare peacekeepers for the multi-dimentional realities on the ground, the training package aimed to demonstrate the complex linkages betweenprotectio tasks and provide teaining guidance on how to prevent, deter and respond to inter-related threats.
Consequently,Gen Fagge told the graduates, “There is no doubt that you are all now qualified to organize and deliver training on protection of civilians. I therefore charge you not to shy away from such responsibilities whenever the situation avails itself.
He added that “Having passed through the protection of civilians course, the graduate’s have fulfilled United Nation’s requirements to be deployed as Protection of Civilian’s Specialist’s and Trainer’s in all UN, Regional, Sub-regional and indeed Internal Security Operation’s in support of civil authority.”
In his remarks, the Chief of Training (Army), Maj.-Gen. Abdulsalami Ibrahim whovwas the Special Guest of Honour, represented by the Deputy Chief of Training (Courses and Examination), Maj – Gen. Oluyemi Olatoye, commended the Centre for undetaking the course.
Ibrahim said the course was designed to enhance the knowledge of participants on the principles and processes involved in the protection of civilians during conflict and disaster management.
He said the participants had been equipped with required skills and preparedness to take up responsibilities as staff officers at both operational and strategic levels in peace support environment.
Ibrahim lauded the composition of the course participants with more female officers, urging them to give a good account of themselves when deployed in peace support operations.
“You are therefore expected to apply yourself professionally in the field and bring pride and glory to Nigeria with every sense of responsibility,’’ he said.