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Nigerian Army seeks integration of humanitarian law into military operations

THE Nigerian Army on Wednesday says the integration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) into military operations is vital to ensuring compliance with the law.

Maj. Gen. YI Shalangwa, Director of the Nigerian Army Legal Services, disclosed this during his opening remark at a three-day workshop in Abuja.

The workshop, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), aims at further enhancing knowledge of the law among participants and contributing to IHL academic discourse in Nigeria.

The IHL is the law that regulates the conduct of war. It is a branch of international law that seeks to limit effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities.

The Nigerian Army has also been severally accused of human rights abuses and violations in the course of exercising their duties.

However, Shalangwa, underlined the importance of IHL teaching and research in civil and military schools.

He highlighted the essence of the doctrine for the integration of the IHL into military operations and presented practical measures taken by the Army to ensure conformity with the law.

In a statement issued by Esther Eleojo, ICRC Communication Officer, about 70 lecturers of international humanitarian law met at the workshop.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions this year, we need to remind all stakeholders that there are indeed rules that set limits to suffering in armed conflict and that more needs to be done to fully implement them,” said Eloi Fillion, the ICRC head of delegation in Nigeria.

He called on academics to continue contributing to better compliance by making the rules better known and understood.

According to the statement, the ICRC has been working on disseminating IHL among academics, federal authorities and the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“A 20-year partnership between the ICRC and Nigerian universities has led to the teaching of IHL at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in 28 institutions of high education. In 2018 alone, over 450 lecturers and students received ICRC support for the teaching, research and study of IHL in Nigeria.”

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