EletiofeNigeria deploys 197 military personnel for peacekeeping mission in...

Nigeria deploys 197 military personnel for peacekeeping mission in Gambia

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The Chief of Operations Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Boniface Sinjen announced Jaji, Kaduna State, at the graduation of troops of Nigerian Company 9 Economic Community of West African States Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), report that the 197 troops began Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) on May 4, at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) Jaji Kaduna State.

According to him, the PDT is in line with the commitment of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt –Gen Taoreed Lagbaja and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in deploying quality peacekeepers in support of international peace and security.

He said that the training had equipped them with the necessary tactical skills and knowledge required for peace support operations.

“It has prepared you for the protection of civilians and the accomplishment of assigned tasks under the ECOMIG mandate.

“You have learned the importance of teamwork, leadership and cultural sensitivity as well as other factors that would ensure your success in the mission area.

“You have been trained in the latest techniques and procedures for maintaining peace and stability in a complex environment and instilled with the values of discipline, respect for human rights and compassion for the people you are going out there to protect.

“Your mission comes at a critical time, as The Gambia faces a period of uncertainty and instability,“ he said.

According to him, the country’s political crisis has affected the lives of many innocent civilians and their presence will sustain the existing peace and stability in the region.

“Your role is crucial in maintaining peace, protecting lives and promoting sustainable development.”

Sinjen charged the troops to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights.

He advised them to adhere strictly to the ECOWAS’ mandate, which guides their mission and ensures that their actions align with the principles of peace, stability and human rights.

”Remember that your conduct will not only reflect on yourselves but also your country, the ECOWAS region and the international community.

”Additionally, your training has exposed you to the culture and religious diversity of The Gambia.

“You are, therefore, expected to approach all interactions with sensibility and respect. Be mindful of the local customs, traditions and socio-political dynamics of the mission area.

”You must remain vigilant in the face of potential security threats and avoid any actions that may be perceived as insensitive,” he said.

He said that as peacekeepers in a sovereign nation, they must adhere strictly to the UN principles and guidelines for peacekeeping operations.

“Respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia and avoid any actions that may be perceived as interference in the country’s internal affairs.”

He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria had zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse in line with United Nations’ policies.

”Therefore, any form of sexual exploitation and abuse will be met with severe consequences.

“As ambassadors of the armed Forces of Nigeria and our great nation, you must uphold the esteemed values and enviable image of this country,“ Sinjen said.

Earlier, the Commandant of MLAILPKC, Maj-Gen. Ademola Adedoja said the six weeks of training had been intense, and comprehensive, and was conducted in line with the Standard UN Core Pre-Deployment Training Modules.

Adedoja said the PDT was to equip the earmarked unit with the requisite skills and knowledge to function effectively and efficiently in their deployment to the Gambia.

He said as part of their training, the troops were taken through crosscutting issues like Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, Conduct and Discipline as well as the Protection of Civilians amongst others.

“This graduation is a testament to the capacity and capability of the MLAILPKC as a United Nations accredited Centre to conduct quality training of prospective peacekeepers for deployment to multidimensional Peace Support Operations in fulfilment of her mandate.

“The Centre has within the last six weeks been able to train, retrain and refresh the troops on requisite knowledge and expertise to succeed in a Peace Support Operation environment.

” It is my fervent belief that these men are better informed and equipped to perform their roles in the Gambia,“ Adedoja said.

He said the graduation ceremony once more showed the commitment of Nigeria and the Nigerian Armed Forces to global peace and security.

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