By Augustine Ehikioya
Despite security challenges in Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has given reasons why Nigeria cannot shun peacekeeping operations abroad.
He stressed that it is not right for Nigeria to shut its doors against the international community.
Going for peacekeeping operations in neighbouring countries, he said, could also help to resolve the crisis that would have resulted in adverse impact on Nigeria if we had refused to go on the peacekeeping operation.
The Army Chief also said that such international peacekeeping operations could be exploited to get support for tackling the challenges at home.
He spoke during media interaction with Media Executives at the sideline of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) in Imo State. Security Watch Africa (SWA) was there.
General Yahaya said “As a nation and part of community of nations, we cannot shut our doors and say we are not talking to anybody.
“We have challenges, but we are also in position to lend support to the international community.
“Crisis in countries around us can also impact negatively on us.
“It is also an avenue to find other support from the international community.
“The more you support and interact with the international community, the more you can ask for support. And that’s what we are doing,” he stated.
Even with allegations of human rights abuses leveled by some international organizations, the Chief of Army Staff also explained that Nigerian soldiers have been properly trained to always respect human rights of individuals.
All operations, he said, are always guided by the rules of engagement and code of conducts.
He said “All of us are taught to respect human rights. Nigerian Army operations are guided by it. They have rules of engagement and code of conducts.
“They also have Commanders that guide them before they launch into any operation,” he said.
Not treating the issue of human rights with kid gloves, he said, that every Nigerian Army formation in the country has Human Rights Desk to kick start the process for investigation into any such issue.
The Army Chief also pointed out that organizations making such allegations often times do it when looking for something from Nigeria.