In a bid to ensure effective Mainstreaming of Human Rights and Humanitarian Principles into Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East, the National Human Rights Commission is training more military personnel, particularly those in the Frontlines to ensure that their operations are in tandem with International minimum standards.
In his welcome statement in one of the locations of the training in Bama, Borno State, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq said the justification for the training cannot be over emphasized as the war against insurgency is complicated by its asymmetric nature.
Ojukwu who was represented at the occasion by the Assistant Director Public Affairs, Fatimah Agwai Mohammad, said “the insurgents live within us and there is hardly a clear drawn battle line between the insurgents and the civilian population, therefore there is a need to prosecute insurgency operation in order to win the hearts and minds of the civilian population in Nigeria”.
At the training which was put together by the National Human Rights Commission with support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer lamented the untold hardship unleashed on innocent civilians as a result of the insurgency, pointing out that the training was imperative considering that most of the officers who confront the insurgents also have a responsibility to protect the civilian populace from collateral damage.
He noted that experience gathered by the Commission from years of organizing human rights training for the military suggest that such training should run continually for effective result.
According to the Executive Secretary, this will enable them appreciate and uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution and other relevant regional and international Protocols. Participants are mostly drawn from the epic center of insurgency in Borno State like Gwoza, Bama, Damasak, Mongonu and Ngala.
The Executive Secretary further stated that in order to sustain the gains made in the fight against insurgency, the Commission in collaboration with UNHCR conducted a train of trainer programme for key Military officers in Maiduguri early in the year “it is expected that the training is stepped down to the Brigades, Platoons and other Military Formations and Units in other parts of the North East like it is presently taking place here today”.
The Brigade Commander of the 21 Armored Brigade Bama, Col. Vitus Unachukwu expressed delight in the training saying the officers who have benefitted from the training cannot afford to fall short of their duties especially in relation to the respect for human rights. He enjoined them to make the best use of the opportunity to better their performance and live a good legacy for emulation in the military.
One of the resource persons Maj. E.S Krigbode, O.C Military police said the training has exposed participants to a lot of acts that are condemnable by the military.