Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has said the ongoing counter-insurgency and anti-banditry operations across the country had made the Nigerian Army to scale down its participation in peacekeeping operations across the world.
Gen. Yahaya made this known at the opening of the maiden Nigerian Army Peace Support Operations seminar with the theme: “Nigeria in Contemporary Peace Support Operations Environment” yesterday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria’s participation in peace support operations dated back to the 1960s with notable achievements and commendations that contributed to regional as well as global stability and peace.
The COAS said the various operations were under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
According to him, Nigeria has contributed peacekeepers to over 40 Peace Support Operations in Africa and across the world to facilitate the restoration of peace in conflict zones.
“We were subsequently constrained to scale down our participation mainly due to internal exigencies. With our renewed efforts at upscaling our participation again, it is important to have a forum such as this seminar to rub minds and share ideas on issues relating to contemporary peace support operations to keep pace with the ever-dynamic nature of the operations.
The Nigerian Army remains committed to improving Nigeria’s position as a force to reckon with in peace support operations,” he said.
A former military adviser to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor (rtd), commended the Nigerian Army for playing leading role in global support operations.
Obiakor said the seminar was characteristically another first in the Nigerian army’s long history of setting the pace for innovations in the armed forces.
He said the Nigerian Army had continued to play the role in ensuring global peace and stability through peace support operations.
The Chief of Operation (Army) Maj-Gen. Olufemi Akinjobi, said the seminar was aimed at upscaling and attuning the capabilities of the participants for optimal performance in contemporary peace support operations. Akinjobi said the Nigerian army had continuously contributed to regional and global stability through its consistent deployment of personnel for peace support operations.
He said that Nigerian army personnel had worked with others around the world to facilitate the restoration of peace to many conflict areas in spite of increasing internal exigencies.