Violent conflict: Centre pledges enhanced capacity for peacekeepers

A cross section of participants at the inauguration ceremony of the Comprehensive Protection of Civilians Course 36/2024.

The Commandant, Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAIPKC), Maj.-Gen. Ademola Adedoja, says the centre is committed to enhancing peacekeeping operations in Nigeria and African continent through training.

Adedoja gave the assurance at the inauguration ceremony of the Comprehensive Protection of Civilians Course 36/2024, organised by the centre on Tuesday in Abuja.

The course was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in conjunction with the Government of Japan.

He said that the inauguration represented an essential step forward in their collective efforts to ensure the pro-activeness of peacekeepers in the aspect of protection of civilians in conflicts zones.

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He added that the course also demonstrated the commitment of international partners to support MLAILPKC in delivering quality and realistic training to potential peacekeepers.

According to him, the course is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the performance of Comprehensive Protection of Civilian functions in an integrated peace operations environment.

”This course will also provide participants with the expertise and strategies necessary to protect civilians in conflict zones.

”It will also serve as measures to win the heart and minds of the local indigene in conflict and post conflict environment among others.

”The MLAILPKC in conjunction with other collaborations are showcasing the profound truth that the protection and promotion of human rights is a collective endeavour that transcends government and institutional responsibilities.”

The commandant also said that the course was aligned with the UN training standards and qualified participants to be deployed in integrated peacekeeping operations such as UN, AU and ECOWAS missions.

He added that the participants would be empowered to impact positive changes and contributes to enhancing peace, security and safety of the citizens in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

”I want to assure you that the centre has erudite facilitators with world- class experiences and capable instructors who will impart the required knowledge on you.

”Our facilitators are renowned experts in their fields, with a deep understanding of the complex peacekeeping challenges we face,” he added.

The Chief of Training (Army), Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, in his remarks said that the mandate of MLAILPKC was to deliver realistic training support to leaders and critical stakeholders on multidimensional challenges of contemporary peace support operations.

Mohammed, represented by Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Abai, said the collaboration between the centre and UNDP started in 2016 in pursuant of that mandate.

He said the collaboration was aimed at fostering stability, security and sustainable developments in conflict affected regions.

According to him, it is also designed to enhance peace building efforts by working together and leveraging expertise and resources to effectively support conflict prevention, peace building and post conflict recovery efforts.

”Over the years, the collaboration has yielded positive results in the areas of sponsorship of courses. This is aimed at enhancing the skills and capabilities of military, para-military and other relevant stakeholders in Nigeria and around Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

”In the year 2023, a total of four courses were conducted in collaboration with UNDP and the Government of Japan. These include the Anti-Piracy Course series, Comprehensive Protection of Civilians Course, Countering Violence Extremism Course.

”Today, we are here to inaugurate the Comprehensive Protection of Civilians Course in furtherance of the active, progressive and effective collaboration that exist between MLAILPKC and UNDP/Government of Japan,’’ he said.

Mr Matthew Alao, Team Lead, Governance, Peace, and Security Unit, UNDP, Nigeria, also  reiterated the need to ensure adequate protection of civilian population by peacekeepers, security personnel and humanitarian workers during violent conflicts to minimise casualties.

Alao, represented by Mr Richard Ologunla, noted that civilians often bear the brunt of hostilities and uncertainties in conflict zones around the world, adding that there was the need to ensure their safety, uphold their rights and safeguard their dignities.

He said the course was designed to arm the participants with the tools and strategies necessary to navigate the complexities of protecting civilians in armed conflict.

”As we inaugurate this course today, let us remember that the true measure of our success lies in the positive impact that we create in the lives of those we are committed to protect.

”The protection of civilians is not just a professional call to duty, it is a moral imperative.

”By enhancing our capabilities to protect civilians in armed conflict, we are contributing to a more just and peaceful world.

”I encourage you all to engage fully, learn from one another, and take this opportunity to build a sustainable network for your career and leadership”, he said.

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