The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps begun peacekeeping and conflict resolution training for personnel of the agency as a proactive step towards finding new ways of mitigating civilian harm in conflict situations.
Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi, said the training was necessitated by prevailing security challenges facing the country and to also train personnel on the agency’s response towards civilians in times of emergency.
In a communique signed by the Public relations Officer, (PRO), of the Corps, Olusola Odumosu, yesterday in Abuja, Audi said Crisis management is under the mandate of the corps and part of it is the protection of the civilian populace during the period of emergency.
“With the new trend of insecurity in the country today, there is a need for more caution to safeguard civilians and that is why we are having this training. The training is meant to build the capacity of officers to improve on their interaction with the populace.
“This has to do with giving civilians more information or educating them on what to do in a crisis situation,” he said
Represented by the deputy commandant general, Crisis Management Directorate, Dr Nnamdi Nwinyi, the CG said the training also improves personnel capacity on giving civilians more information or educating them on what to do in a crisis situation.
Audi pointed out that “The Peace and Conflict Unit of the corps is reaching out to the populace, particularly communities during a crisis situation and they have been doing that
“They educate civilians on the need to know issues that occur in their environment and what to do in conflict situations.
Country Director, Centre for Civilians in Conflict, Dr Benson Olugbuo, said that the workshop was on the protection and mitigation of harm to civilians during conflicts.
He said “In Nigeria today, we have different conflicts we call asymmetrical warfare, in a rhetoric sense, the enemy could be anybody.
“The unfortunate thing is that citizens sometimes are caught in the crossfire so, we believe that there is a need for training and retraining of security agencies so that they know how to ensure reduction in civilian casualty in internal security situations.
“We know that the NSCDC is involved in some of the security operations in Abuja, Maiduguri and other parts of the country and that is why we decided to hold the training in Abuja,” he adds.
Giving example of one of the approaches adopted in Borno to safeguard civilians, Olugbuo said “We established what we call Civilian Protection Committees and these committees work in collaboration with security agencies.
“In some of the areas where conflicts already exist, civilians have the opportunity to directly collaborate with security agencies and inform them about the security situation they found themselves in and then discuss how they can protect themselves.”
Participants were drawn from the national headquarters and the FCT command of the corps