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Commandant: Peace Support Operations Must Focus On Civilians’ Protection 


The Commandant, Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC), Maj.-Gen. Awaul Fagge, says the focus of every peace support operation must be the protection of civilians.


Fagge said this at the graduation of participants of Protection of Civilians Course 1/2022 organised by the centre on Friday in Abuja.


The course was organised for army officers and some civilians in collaboration with the British Defence Section West Africa and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict.


He said the course was vital as the nation confront various challenges including struggles for power and resources, social and economic inequality, ethnic and religious divides.


These conflicts, according to him, are often asymmetric and driven by non-state actors against national forces in the Northeast, Northwest, southeast and other parts of the country.


He added that other parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Ukraine, among others were also facing similar security situation.


According to him, civilians constitute the majority of the people impacted by conflicts, either as intended or unintended targets.

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“Therefore, the priority of the government and the military must meet professional objective of capturing and holding grounds, to the protection of civilians, during these armed conflicts.


The United Nations effort at creating the discussion or responsibility to protect and develop the capacity of member states to protect civilians in armed conflicts underscores the need for this course.


“This is why this study was designed with the necessary background and tools to enable you function effectively in whatever civilians’ scenario,” Fagge added.


The commandant said as operational and tactical commanders, the participants must use the knowledge to provide protection to civilians during peace operations.


The Army’s Chief of Training, Maj.-Gen. Abdulsalami Ibrahim, represented by the Deputy Chief of Training, Maj.-Gen. Oluyemi Olatoye, commended the centre for conducting 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.

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He said the participants were equipped with the required skills 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.


Also, the Human Security Advisor, British Defence Section, Maj. Bonnie Nicolle, said the course was meant to expose participants to the understanding of the UN resolutions on protection of civilians during missions.


Nicolle said that the success of any mission was dependent on how many civilians were protected during conflicts, adding that protection of civilians in a mission was paramount to the military.

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She said the phrase that was used within that NATO mission in Afghanistan was ‘courageous restraint’, to be certain that airstrikes would not cause harm to unarmed civilians.


“Mission success will not come if you are not able to protect the civilians that you are having tasks to provide their security,’’ she said.


The Country Director, Centre for Civilians in Conflict, Dr Benson Olugbuo, said civilian protection in conflict was part of civil military relations.


Olugbuo commended the participant for their dedication to the course, adding that the centre for civilians in conflict would continue to engage the military to enhance their operations. CONTINUE READING……



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Akanji Philip is a full-time blogger, Copywriter and a content creator. He is also a specialist in community health.

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