NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA Defence/Security Securing Nigeria requires harnessing efforts of citizens – COAS

Securing Nigeria requires harnessing efforts of citizens – COAS

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, says securing a country like Nigeria within the ambit of contemporary security environment requires harnessing the support of the citizens.

Lagbaja, represented by the Chief of Administration (Army), Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said this at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Army Human Rights Seminar, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that the support of the citizens was necessary since some operations were conducted within civilian populated areas.

According to him, the prevailing security challenges had necessitated the deployment of Nigerian army troops to various theaters of operation within the country.

“These deployments involve kinetic and non kinetic approaches that require collaboration between security agencies and all well meaning individuals and organisations.

“I wish to state that securing a country within the ambit of contemporary security environment involve harnessing the efforts of citizens in a whole of nation approach because the operations are conducted within civilian populated areas.

“Hence, the seminar was conceptualised to engage organisations, security agencies, media and other stakeholders involved in human rights advocacy and the protection of civilians in conflict areas on the issues relating to human rights during conflicts.

“The protection of civilians and their basic rights require special attention as it takes up a lot of field commanders time.

“This aspect of warfare and conflict management require the harnessing of the potentials of other actors within the multidimensional operating environment.

“Hence, the articulation of my command philosophy that seeks to transform the Nigerian army into a well trained and highly motivated organisation towards achieving our constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment, taking into cognizance the uniqueness of the contemporary environment, which is joint.

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“The joint environment in this context includes all actors in the theaters of operation including non governmental organisations and human rights groups,” he said.

Lagbaja said that Nigeria’s contemporary operating environment had become volatile and complex as the global environment increasingly has become more connected and ambiguous.

He said that there was the need for the army to enhance capacity for efficient employment of the instruments of national power while harnessing the potentials of its allies towards achieving the desired results.

The COAS added that the army had to step up all aspects of its engagement with all actors in the field of operations in line with best practices to effectively confront the country’s adversaries.

“It is in this light that Nigerian Army is collaborating and interfacing with human rights advocacy groups in our theaters of operation to ensure commonality in understanding the practice.

“Practical understanding of issues relating to human rights are varied and challenging, especially in contemporary military operations.

“Hence, the theme for this seminar, which is “National Security and the Complexities of Human Rights, is quite apt and is in consonance with current realities,” he added.

On his part, the Chief of Administration, Maj.-Gen. Akpor, urged the public to help protect the integrity of the army while discharging its responsibility of safeguarding the nation, saying the military also needed protection from campaigns of calumny.

Akpor said that the army had prioritised human rights in its training right from the cradle, adding that with several operations ongoing and several interactions with the civil populace, there was no denying the facts that issues would crop up.

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“But the military also is the only organisation in any country that is said to be administered to the point where they can even set up their own courts to deal with issues that bother on indiscipline.

“While we do so much to keep the environment safe, the military also requires protection from campaigns of calumny, sometimes from within but most times from without that will want to undermine the integrity of the military.

“And when the integrity of the military is undermined with campaigns of calumny, you are weakening the confidence of the military and the ability of military to protect the land,” he said. (NAN) (

Edited by Bayo Sekoni

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