By: Okosun Dennis
The need to ensure that officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army conform with humanitarian laws and carry out their professional duties without human rights violations and other infractions necessitated a two-day sensitization workshop on Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws.
While declaring the workshop opened, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj Gen Lawrence Felokwu admonishes officers and soldiers to work in tardem with existing laws noting that the workshop is key considering the ongoing conduct of operation in the North East and participation in United Nations Operations across the globe.
Represented by the Chief of Staff, 81 Division, Brig Gen Nsikan Edet, he observed that the aftermath of #EndSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums cannot be overemphasized, adding that the need arose to sensitize troops to be cautious on what they post on social media or public domain.
He pointed out that posting of strategic order could jeopardise the essence of any operation hence he called on officers to take the lectures seriously and extend the knowledge acquired to soldiers at various units.
Expatriating further on the relevance of the workshop, Brig Gen Edet said, “Officers and soldiers will be highly sensitized on these laws and it will guide us in all our operations. We don’t want soldiers to do things that are not in accordance with the laws as we had in the past or experienced.
“Sometimes, all these accusations are not confirmed by those who leveled these accusations against us.
“We want to make sure everything we do is transparent by engaging our troops having mastery of those laws and know how to apply them accordingly without taking laws into their hands when involved in operation or carrying out joint operations with other security agencies.”
In his opening speech, the Director of Training, 81 Division, Brig Gen Shauibu Nuhu observed that the workshop was an offshoot of similar one at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
As such, participants are drawn from different formation of the Nigerian Army must key on its importance to guide them as they carry out their professional responsibility as well as know their legal status as soldiers.
In his lecture on “Human Rights in International Human Law” by the Acting Director, Directorate of Legal Services, 81 Division, Major TK Dauda, which was presented by the Legal Officer of the Division, Lt O. Ewu-udu acquainted participants with the principle of International Human Rights; formation of Armed Forces, its roles and core values of the Nigerian Army.
Particularly, he emphasized the need to maintain integrity in its professional discharge of its duties no matter the circumstances.
On the imperative of Next of Kin (NOK) to serving soldiers, the troops were admonished to chose a blood relation as their next of kin as wrong choice of NOK has created multiplicity of challenge for the force while paying benefits in the event of death while in service.
It noted that the Nigerian Army has ensured that its personnel is comfortable while in active service and also make provision to cater for their dependents in the event of death.
Participants at the workshop included senior officers, junior officers and soldiers of 81 Division, Nigerian Army.